Our Faculty group enjoyed learning from Pamela Pereyra, founder of Media Savvy Citizens, as part of our continued learning about media literacy, representation, and education. Media Savvy Citizens does a number of outreach programs in New Mexico, including fantastic teacher workshops to guide teachers in helping students become media literate.
She shared the power of giving students (and teachers in their workshops) agency in the development of media tools, and in using media to think, write and create around curricula. For example, we loved the examples where students — in studying Greek mythology — came to think of the Greek gods as bullies. The students then created memes of those gods as bullies: developing their tech skills while also engaging deeply with Greek mythology.
Media literacy education must be intentional, but can be an elegant companion to other content. We educate students in media literacy whenever we ask them to mindfully consider information delivered through any medium (not just what is traditionally thought of as “the media”).
Part of media literacy is uncovering the meaning behind the message. It isn’t just about what is said, but understanding who said it and why they might have said it. How is their viewpoint integral to what and how they presented information?
Media changes over time, and our abilities to understand and use it evolve. We can move learners (and ourselves) from discovering, through application, to connecting with others. Ultimately, we want to build learners who can share accurate information, and learn effectively.
Educators play a crucial role in working with youth. We can shift their teaching practices to engage youth with media, to make their learning more authentic. This can create a change in the mindset of teachers towards using media and creating media as essential parts of understanding almost any content area.
We also discussed the idea of media literacy education as a process of giving people tools to interact with and work around algorithmic biases, while also recognizing and pushing against them.
Educators can use media to foster accessibility in their classes, providing learners with different means of representation and actions for activities, supporting different learning needs and skills.
Pamela is the founder and CEO of Media Savvy Citizens (MSC), which facilitates understanding, positive participation, and meaningful media interaction for learners. As CEO of MSC, she develops media literacy programs and training across New Mexico and led 30 school districts to embed media literacy into their curriculum and transition into digital learning in 2020. She is a seasoned media educator with over 20 years experience as teacher, designer, trainer, consultant, and advocate developing the capacity of youth and adults engaging in media and learning. Pamela is the New Mexico chapter chair of Media Literacy Now and adjunct instructor at the University of New Mexico. Follow her on Twitter at @MediaSavvyCit and @aducateme
Written By Barbara Chamberlin, PhD, Interim Department Head, email@example.com