IT lessons: Teachers get science news via SMS

A new text message service is helping science teachers keep up with new discoveries, writes Ross Bentley

A new text message service is helping science teachers keep up with new discoveries, writes Ross Bentley

The Association for Science Education this week launched a text message service which aims to help teachers keep abreast of new developments in the scientific field.

The service, which lets teachers sign up to receive weekly text-based messages about the latest discoveries from the world of science, is the brainchild of Tony Sherborne, director at the Association for Science Education. Sherborne said he wants to help students get the science they want - the issues they see on TV, rather than the science that belongs in the history books.

The service will initially run for one school term and will be rolled out on a more permanent basis if it proves to be effective.

Subscribers will receive a weekly text message featuring between five and 10 science news headlines. Teachers then text back, specifying which they are most interested in. They will receive subsequent text messages with more detail on the story of interest.

Sherborne said, "Last summer, the House of Commons issued a report from which the national media widely reported school science as being 'boring', partly because it is out of date. This service will hopefully help teachers keep abreast of the latest developments and bring their classes up to date in an easily manageable and digestible way."

The technical side of the service is being handled by mobile marketing firm Flytxt. Lars Becker, Flytxt's chief executive, said, "This service can also be extended beyond science to other fields within education."

Last summer Flytxt ran an interactive SMS revision tool for the BBC's Bitesize service. Students needing help with their revision could subscribe to receive SMS "txt bites" containing selected GCSE Q&As for maths, physics, chemistry, English and biology. Questions were sent directly to students on their mobile phones, when they responded to the txt bite they received a bounce-back message with the correct answer.

Teachers wishing to sign up for the science text service should text their name to 07764 793 313

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