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On average, the science in pupils' books is 92 years old. A pretty ropey estimate, maybe. But the fact is, the lack of up-to-date science is one of students' biggest complaints about the subject.

They would surely approve of Science UPD8, a new project from the Association for Science Education and Sheffield Hallam University. The initiative promises to deliver science that is barely days old.

Think of it: last week scientists were arguing over a possible new planet in our midst; this week you've got all the diagrams, spreadsheet data, cartoons, discussion questions or literacy work you need to make a terrific 10-minute hotspot in your lesson.

No need to spend time leafing through newspapers or New Scientist, challenging your brain to make connections to the curriculum. All that's required is a flexible mindset and a willingness to use information technology to receive the news - fast.

Every week Science UPD8 sends teachers a weekly menu. It alerts them to curriculum-relevant stories as a text message on their mobile phone or as an email to their computer.

The menu is a series of alerts to news hotspots and activities, along with unmissable TV programmes, events and exhibitions. The idea is that whatever you're teaching, at least one item will be relevant. Mobile users simply send a text back to obtain the items they want. The details are also in the email. And the activities can be downloaded from the ASE website.

Science UPD8 will run as a pilot for the 2003 spring term, supported by IBM and Planet Science. Teachers can subscribe now.

To get weekly menus by text message, send a text with your name to 07764 793313. Get weekly menus by email or make enquiries by sending a message with your name to

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