Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Blackboards or whiteboards for schools?

Many teachers prefer to stick to their tradition and use a blackboard for leading their classes but is this a mind-set that is shared around the UK? This post will look at the advantages of both whiteboards and blackboards.

Blackboards have been used for teaching in classrooms since the early 1900s when a geography teacher in Scotland took his students’ slates and attached them to the classroom wall in order to display the lesson to the class. Since then, a blackboard has been a common association with the classroom as a brilliant way to display information and then simply rub it out at the end of the lesson.

Blackboards can come in a variety of shapes and sizes from small wall blackboards to those on a roll so the entire days’ lessons can be written out and those with pre-drawn lines on that are great for teaching children to read and write. Most classrooms opted for a large wall blackboard which meant that writing didn’t need to be squeezed in. However, many people find writing with chalks very difficult especially as the chalks are used and get smaller.

The main advantage of a whiteboard for teaching over a blackboard is that there is far less mess involved. Chalk gets everywhere and even if you use liquid chalks instead there is still the risk of it getting on your clothes which can be tricky to remove. Blackboard dusters can also create a lot of mess in themselves and the dust can cause some people to cough especially those who are asthmatic. Whiteboard markers are very clean and most can be easily washed out of clothes.

Many people also argue that using a black whiteboard pen on a whiteboard is easier to read than white chalk on a blackboard. You can buy a range of coloured pens for whiteboards that can come in very handy for highlighting important points and drawing diagrams too. Chalkboards are slightly more limited in the things that you can display on them. Magnetic whiteboards are particularly useful in lessons for sticking up pictures and graphs.

Overall, the whiteboard is a much more useful and easy to use tool for teaching in schools, universities and colleges. As time progresses, we predict that fewer and fewer blackboards will be seen in classrooms, especially with the development of interactive whiteboards.

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