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As times change we need to continually review what our education systems offer and where priorities might lie. The Technology and Knowledge Ages of the twenty-first century have brought about new understandings, new ways of doing things, and an array of new career and workplace opportunities. Employees today are expected to bring more than an accumulation of traditional knowledge acquisition. Increasingly important today are a plethora of attitudinal skills and dispositions that enable workers to engage in much greater collaboration, communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking. What are these newly emphasised skills and dispositions and how should they be addressed within the education system? Meaningful learning of these ‘soft skills’ will occur best in authentic and integrated programmes where explicit teaching identifies the required learning. This paper will investigate the nature of the skills, consider some implications and barriers and then demonstrate connections between the nature of technological practice and ‘soft skills’. An essential consideration of this new learning focus is how it might be assessed. A new authentic assessment practice within a Technology Education tertiary education programme is introduced as an example of how knowledge and ‘soft skill’ acquisition can be combined and achieved.
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