Friday, September 26, 2008

A black and white issue

The rooms I teach in are split 50:50 between blackboards and whiteboards, and I'm really not sure which I prefer. So here are some of the pros and cons, feel free to add any I haven't thought of:


White writing on a dark background is probably easier on the eye.
Chalks don't slowly run out; you don't end up with a bag full of chalks that work for five minutes if you store them vertically for long enough.
You can shut everyone up by dragging your nails down the board.

Dark clothes quickly lighten up (on the other hand, you can annoy goth students by making them write on the board)
Your hands get all chalky.
Chalk dust up the nose leads to dry, crusty bogies all day.


Clear, contrasting colours. I always use a different colour for phonetic transcriptions, for example.
You can use the board as an OHP or PowerPoint screen and write stuff on top (though check it isn't reflecting right back into the students' eyes)
The pens get you high (can anyone recommend a brand?)

The pens slowly run out.
Some kid will always get a pen of their own and write rude words on the board.
Said kid will always use a permanent marker so you have to sand blast the board before you can use it again.

So, as you can see, it's pretty even at the moment. Interactive whiteboards are fun until the computer freezes and you have to call out the IT bod for the fifth time that week....

So, any teachers want to add any more arguments either way?

Edit: Madame le Prof has reminded me that non-techie teachers have been known to ruin an interactive whiteboard by writing on it....


Troy said...

I always think of it as a little forest of pens...all upside down, hoping that I can get just one more class out of them.

Dust aside, blackboards definitely have to be more environmentally friendly, don't you think?

I have yet to see a school either re-use whiteboard pens (as some claim you can do with refills) or recycle them for that matter.

There is also coloured chalk, isn't there?

Can Bass 1 said...

Buy a piano, dear boy, and teach on that. Music's the only subject worth it's place on the curriculum, in my opinion.

M. le Prof d'Anglais said...

Another point I remembered at work the other day is that markers don't shatter when they fall on the floor.

Michelle said...

At the place I teach we only have whiteboards now. Before they got rid of them, we weren't allowed to call blackboards 'black' lest we cause offense. They are now called 'chalkboards.'

Apparently nobody is offended by the term, 'whiteboard.'

I am offended by the number of people who steal my bloody whiteboard markers when I leave them behind. They are NEVER there when I return for them.