Member Spotlight: Pamela Pereyra

Pamela Pereyra is the Founder and CEO of Media Savvy Citizens

What do you do?

I am passionate about helping youth and adults in their drive for transformative experiences through critical thought, creative expression and hands-on play with media and technology. I am a creative and a designer at heart. And I connect the dots between fields at the intersection of media, communication and education. I am a teacher, advocate, and learning designer of media literacy education. Two decades of teaching in K-12 New Mexico classrooms taught me to be flexible in order to meet the needs of diverse communities, from rural to Native American to varying tech levels and everything in between.

I am the founder and CEO of Media Savvy Citizens, which facilitates understanding, positive participation and meaningful media interaction for New Mexico learners and beyond. Lately, we have focused our work on capacity-building and coaching teachers to embed media and digital literacy in their classrooms using a sustainable approach. I also serve as the New Mexico Chapter chair of Media Literacy Now, advocating for media literacy policy to translate into education in classrooms. Additionally, I am an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico. I am very interested in finding the most effective ways to approach media literacy from Kindergarten to adulthood, locally, statewide and nationally.

Tell us about your latest work or project in media literacy.

Media Savvy Citizens is working on a few projects, below are some of the highlights:

  • Piloting social media literacy and SEL sessions with three 5th grade classrooms to have reflective conversations and short activities on the impact of social media in students’ lives. Students will analyze, evaluate and reflect upon how they engage with digital platforms with emotions at the forefront of their explorations for healthier and more balanced lives.
  • Implementing comprehensive media literacy K-8 in a project-based learning model school-wide. We are implementing close reading to planning to creating media projects in each classroom. In addition, we will be conducting teacher professional development to help educators continue to implement media literacy in their classrooms. We modeled and next year they will implement it with our resources and support.
  • Consulting with a comics non-profit to help them with evaluation and the implementation of professional development for 12 middle school teachers with visual literacy.
  • Worked with 30 NM school districts with English language arts and social studies teachers in middle schools to embed media literacy as a teaching strategy into content discipline. This project is year-long and creates media fluent educators for sustainable impact in communities. It includes hands-on training, an online curriculum and communities of practice to support the implementation. We continue to learn about the needs of teachers today.

Why is media literacy important to you?

Our lives are mediated, nearly everything we do is through a medium. We don’t often reflect on the media in our lives and their impact on our thoughts, feelings, and actions that push us to say or act in certain ways. And then there is a feedback loop because we feed it and it feeds us, especially in an immediate networked world. Media literacy is a huge field of study with varying approaches, interpretations and subsets. At the core is a foundation, which is necessary to function today and into the future. As our society becomes more digitized and our experiences immersive, the need to pull away and question, observe ourselves and know which questions to ask in order to critically examine situations from various points of view will continue to play a major role in media literacy.

Being creative makers of media and messages, with critical thought, not only of the creation, but of the systems at play and impact we have on others is important. In order to become fully literate, functioning members of society, media literacy must be part of every stage of our lives and in every subject, from health to science to civics, just as much as media is part of our lives. Media literacy strengthens autonomy, literacy, and democracy.

What are you most excited about in the media literacy field?

There’s been a boom in the field of media literacy. I’m excited that there is a lot of information about it and that the access gap is closing in some places. I’m in awe of rising numbers of legislation at the state level and how much state education departments and legislators are working together for a vision that sees the value of media literacy in schools. NAMLE, Media Literacy Now and other organizations are doing an incredible job at bringing media literacy to the forefront of our lives; I am not only excited, but I am grateful. I am also inspired by how much media literacy is part of everyday conversations about culture. I do see that there is room to grow to reach marginalized communities.

Why did you become a NAMLE member, what benefits do you see to membership, and how will it support your work?

I appreciate NAMLE and the resources it provides. In addition, I appreciate the community and learning from such inspiring people. And I love nerding out about media, literacy, media literacy, equity, representation and NAMLE provides a space for these conversations to take place and to connect me to research, pedagogy, and practice. I continue to send educators and administrators to the website for resources.

The views and opinions expressed in the M-Passioned Member blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NAMLE or its members. The purpose of the M-Passioned Member blog is to highlight our members and give them a place to share their reflections, opinions, and ideas.