More ‘roos outside our windows!


Time for one of those posts about where I live rather than specifically education related.

This morning we had an exciting visit from members of one of our local wildlife sanctuaries. There are a number of these sanctuaries around the state who rescue and rehabilitate injured and orphaned wildlife. The purpose of this morning’s visit was to re-introduce some orphaned kangaroos into the wild by releasing them on our block! We already have a regular “mob” of kangaroos who break up into smaller groupings at various times of the year. These ‘roos don’t live exclusively on our block but range across several adjacent properties – ours is just one that they visit.

A bit of general “stuff” about kangaroos

Kangaroos are frequent victims of traffic on our roads. When females are killed or injured their young in the pouch (joeys) may well survive unhurt. However unless they are rescued they can’t live long once their mother is dead. Kangaroos are born very tiny and immature and once they reach the pouch they attach to a teat and remain out of sight in the pouch for several months.

Rescued joeys are raised in artificial pouches – often woollen bags – and bottle fed with milk. Eventually they reach a size where they can live outside the pouch and feed on the normal types of food eaten by adult kangaroos. Before release the young kangroos of mixed ages get used to living together as a group in a large pre-release enclosure where they have far less human contact than during the raising phase. Finally a number will be released into the wild – this is what happened here today.

The release

The team had successfully caught 15 young ‘roos from their large enclosure. They arrived in a convoy of cars in mid-morning. All very exciting as we hadn’t really expected quite so many ‘roos or quite so many people!

Picture of 'roos being unloadedThe first step was unloading the young kangaroos from the cars. They had travelled in woven mesh bags and were very mildly sedated so they they wouldn’t panic either in transit or when released.

Kangaroo travel bags lined up for releaseThe next step was to lay the travel bags out in a line, all “facing” in the same direction, and to unfasten them without actually releasing the occupants. A tricky activity this as there were more ‘roos than people.

Releasing the young kangaroos

Releasing (in theory) is simultanous, of course it wasn’t quite like that but very nearly

Kangaroo looking at new surroundings

Once out of their travel bags most of the kangaroos stayed around for at least a few minutes getting used to their new surroundings.








Then it was time to explore as they began to move away from the release spot.






By the time the team had collected the bags unloaded some transition food for us to help tide the ‘roos over steadily to foraging completely for themselves most of them had moved away into the surrounding pockets of bush to investigate their new surroundings.

We expect them to stay mostly hidden during the day and to come out to the release spot for water and some transitional food. We hope they will sort out a pecking order with our regular visiting mob and join in with them to form a larger mob where the new introductions integrate into the structure and eventually breed.

All in all an exciting and satisfying experience!

Edublogs webinar overview – Accessibility Standards


This recorded session was a FineFocus session in which we took a brief introductory look at Accessibility Standards.  The topic is one that is becoming increasingly prominent as governments around the world set accessibility compliance standards for government websites.

The session

We started with a poll and a whiteboard to find out where we were all coming from on Accessibility Standards and their application in an online/e-learning context. This revealed varying knowledge and so provided great opportunities for discussion as we continued through the session. We moved on to look at the sorts of things that we, both as individuals and in the context of meeting our students’ needs, felt made websites more accessible.The next part of the session was a brief look at the links and possible conflicts between Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Accessibility Standards. We also took a very quick look, via App Share, at the guidelines that have been derived from the standards. I must admit that when I first looked at the guidelines I went into panic mode! I am reasonably tech savvy and I was totally daunted by the impossibility of making every piece of e-learning I develop totally compliant. I think that others in the session felt similarly – having had time to reflect my response is that I will do what is feasible and take baby steps. One of my main concerns is that this will all be too hard for the average practitioner who is only beginning their journey into developing online content and that the result will be a return to boring text only documents uploaded as documents and lacking interaction.

We also considered the impact on others (not falling in to defined equity groups) of changes made to meet the needs of specific equity groups. We compared some of the old Elluminate buttons/features with the new BbC ones that were developed through very close consultation with equity groups.

Finally we discussed some ways we might make a start on improving accessibility in our own practice – including checking foreground and background for colour contrast. Although it wasn’t one of those suggested I have made a change in my blog theme moving to a “responsive theme” ie one that is “mobile friendly” and adapts itself to the device type so that the text is readable without  zooming. I made the change because fortuitously I saw this post by @suewaters – on “theedublogger” and it nudged me into making the change. I don’t like my new theme as much as the old one – I would probably have stayed with it forever given the opportunity, but I think it is good that I made the change!

We finished with a page of links, “takeaways” and feedback.


This was a really interesting session partly because we all came from very different amounts of prior knowledge which always gives rise to great discussions.  Also our varied backgrounds enabled us to bring different perspectives – one of the best things as always for me was hearing/seeing the ideas and opinions of others in the group.

Our Next Webinar

Our next webinar will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday April 11th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday April 12th at 7am West Aus, mid morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room. This is one of our fortnightly unconference sessions where we invite you to bring along your “hot topics” and “burning issues”. We post these on the whiteboard and then choose the topic for discussion by poll.