Literacy learning tool deepens knowledge of safe road use

28 August 2017. The new-look Pathways Awarua combines literacy learning with contexts such as safe driving. It is available to secondary schools.

Since Pathways Awarua became available at secondary level, many schools have signed up to use its literacy and numeracy modules.

Students access the same modules as tertiary users but the secondary space makes links to the New Zealand Curriculum. In July, the online tool received a new look and added features for educators and learners.

It also has a new learner-focused entry point. This has web addresses which are easier for learners to remember, spell and enter. Students can register and login on:

GoPlacesNow.co.nz

or the short way:

gpn.nz

Background to road code modules

Learner drivers who tackle New Zealand’s road code and sit driver licence tests are faced with literacy challenges. They need to comprehend complex sentence structures, cope with unfamiliar vocabulary and make sense of diagrams.

Pathways Awarua includes road code and heavy vehicle modules to make this learning easier. Explaining the modules at a workshop for road safety education professionals were Pathways Awarua consultant Sue Douglas and module developer Emily Harrop-Smith.

Sue and Emily say some learners may have trouble understanding the Rode Code, leading to high levels of test anxiety. They may not have pre-existing skills and knowledge assumed by the road code, such as working out left or right.

Pathways Awarua not only helps meet these literacy challenges, it provides learners with an opportunity to take on board the road code’s principles and rules, which they can apply in their own driving practice.

Pathways Awarua modules each have an explicit purpose and are carefully designed to give users multiple ways of learning the rules for safe road use while improving literacy skills, says Emily.

“We do careful work around the vocabulary of the modules, too. We don’t take for granted what people might know. People may be new to the country and not familiar with our colloquial language.”