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Media-literacy program, scholarships open to RR educators

Kelly Pearce
(Courtesy photo)

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Rio Rancho educators and schools can apply to participate in a media literacy program led by Media Savvy Citizens.

Lincoln and Mountain View middle schools will be part of the 2019-20 pilot program with Media Savvy Citizens. The founder of Media Savvy Citizens, Pamela Pereyra, said the program will focus on how subjects taught in schools can be taught with media literacy in mind.

Media literacy is going through the process of asking questions to better understand a piece of media, whether it is an article, podcast or video, Pereyra said.

“It really gives people an understanding of the perspective, and then once they have a full understanding of all the implications of the point of view from which the story is being told, there are still parts that need to be addressed, like what is not being told, like what do we know and what do we not know,” she said.

This pilot program will equip teachers with the tools to guide their curriculum with media literacy in mind. Teachers can go to mediasavvycitizens.com/program before Nov. 22 to apply.

Kelly Pearce teaches media literacy at Lincoln Middle School. The old workshop was converted into rows of computers where students learn what it means to be a “digital citizen.”

“Digital citizenship is something we are trying to embed throughout the school,” Pearce said. “These kids need it, and they need it bombarded at them.”

According to “The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens, 2019,” 53 percent of 11-year-olds now have cell phones.

“The whole idea of what it means to be social is totally changing. I mean, it’s behind these devices,” she said “They don’t know about eye contact and body space and all the things that we grew up knowing, just because we’re in that different world, and it’s not to say that it’s bad. It’s just different, and it’s going to change everything. It’s going to change how our country is led, if you really want to think about it at that level.”

Pereyra said through the pilot program, educators are taught how to explore media, asking questions like:

• Who is the author or creator?

• Why is this piece of media being created?

• From which point of view is the story being told?

• What point of view is not being told?

• What are the possible biases?

Teachers can receive stipends and scholarships once accepted into the program, as well as up to three graduate continuing-education credits. A three-day boot camp is available for educators.

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