Fátima Silva: “Digital transformation is not just a global trend, but an urgent need”

Fátima Silva: “Digital transformation is not just a global trend, but an urgent need”
Fátima Silva: “Digital transformation is not just a global trend, but an urgent need”

Fátima Silva: “Digital transformation is not just a global trend, but an urgent need”Granted

Specializing in the Development of Multiplatform Applications, she obtained the title of higher technician. In 2016 she taught the Lifelong Learning Program of the Junta de Extremadura and in 2017 she joined AUPEX as an expert in digital literacy. Her dedication and creativity in the field of digital education led her to be recognized as the best digital educator in Europe in 2023 by All Digital.

What does it mean to you to win the European Award for the best digital educator in Europe?

This award not only reflects my personal work, but also the impact that the work of my colleagues has on our autonomous community, with whom we form a network of more than 75 permanent digital skills centres of the Digital Skills Plan for Employability in Extremadura, from which we cover the entire territory.

For me, this award symbolizes the recognition of the importance of digital education in today’s society and the value of empowering people to meet the challenges of the digital world. It is a testament to how technology can transform lives and communities when used effectively and in an accessible way.

It is also an incentive to continue innovating and improving my educational methods, as well as to continue developing programs that empower people through digital learning. It fills me with pride to know that my efforts are being recognized at a European level and motivates me to continue working with the same passion and dedication.

Did you expect it?

Although I have always worked with passion and dedication, I must confess that I did not expect to win the European Award for the best digital educator in Europe. It was a big surprise for me. Although I am aware of the achievements and progress we have made in my community through digital education, I did not expect to receive such a prestigious recognition at European level, since the ALL DIGITAL Awards involve member organisations from all over Europe and have 25,000 digital competence centres.

How important are these technologies in small municipalities?

Digital technologies are of crucial importance in small municipalities for several reasons. Firstly, they improve employability and competitiveness. In rural areas, where job opportunities may be limited, digital skills enable inhabitants to access remote jobs and online employment platforms, expanding their chances of finding employment and improving their competitiveness in the global labour market. Secondly, they help to reduce the digital divide. Lack of access to digital technologies and training can create a significant disparity between urban and rural areas. Implementing digital literacy programmes in small municipalities helps to close this gap, ensuring that all citizens have the same opportunities to learn and use new technologies. Furthermore, these technologies empower individuals, providing the skills necessary to navigate an increasingly digitalised world, from the basic use of devices and applications to more advanced skills such as programming, 3D printing and design or electronics…

Another advantage is the promotion of entrepreneurship. Digital technologies offer residents of small municipalities the tools necessary to start and manage local or digital businesses, promoting local economic development. They also facilitate access to essential services such as education, health and public administration and help maintain social connection, allowing residents to easily communicate with family and friends, regardless of distances. Finally, in the educational field, innovative methodologies, such as gamification and the use of artificial intelligence, can transform education in small municipalities, making it more attractive and accessible. These technologies personalize learning and make it more interactive, adapting to the individual needs of students.

Do you think that small municipalities should commit more decisively to digital transformation?

Digital transformation is not just a global trend, but an urgent necessity to ensure the sustainable development and competitiveness of these areas in the future, as digital technologies are crucial for small municipalities for several reasons. For example, they improve employability and competitiveness by enabling access to remote jobs and online employment platforms. Furthermore, they empower individuals by providing skills to navigate a digitalized world and foster entrepreneurship by offering tools to manage local or digital businesses. Another advantage is that they facilitate access to essential services and maintain social connection.

How do you rate your experience in Brussels?

My experience in Brussels was extremely enriching both on a personal and professional level. Participating in the Erasmus+ programme allowed me to meet and collaborate with experts from all over Europe, which broadened my perspective on the most innovative educational methodologies and technologies. During my stay, I was able to delve deeper into the practical use of artificial intelligence and its application in machine learning, skills that I have incorporated into my work at the Digital Competence Centre-NCC of Valverde de Leganés.

In addition, this experience gave me the opportunity to organize training for my colleagues, passing on the knowledge acquired and fostering a culture of experimentation and creativity in the use of digital technologies. This exchange of knowledge not only benefited my team, but also enriched our strategies to empower the population in Extremadura, improving their digital skills and employability.

Do you think that more and more older people are losing their fear of heights by learning to use new technologies?

Yes, and this is largely due to the increasing digitalisation of society, which has made many everyday activities, such as banking, shopping and communication, dependent on digital technologies. This context has motivated many older people to acquire the skills necessary to stay connected and self-sufficient. Added to this is the existence of a greater offer of training programmes and resources designed specifically for older people, which facilitates their learning and reduces the fear of the unknown. The combination of these factors is contributing significantly to older people not only losing their fear of technology, but also feeling more confident and able to take advantage of its benefits in their daily lives.

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