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The Great Debate: Chalkboard or Whiteboard?

  1. Chalkboard

    12 vote(s)
  2. Whiteboard

    25 vote(s)
  1. Feb 22, 2010 #1
    Pretty simple; which do you prefer? I'm a whiteboard person. I just hate getting all that powder everywhere.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2010 #2
    A whiteboard with a basically white background makes up a lot of light, which makes my eyes tired faster. A blackboard creates chalk powder, which will ruin the student's computers. Given that most students with a computer during lectures actually surf on PF and/or other community websites, I consider it's a good thing.
  4. Feb 22, 2010 #3
    Whiteboard. Much easier to erase, and you dont end up looking like a ghost afterwards. Plus there is no chance of having that retched chalkboard scratch with a whiteboard!
  5. Feb 22, 2010 #4

    Chi Meson

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    8 years ago, I would have hacked away your fingers if you tried to take away my greenboard and my 6-color supply of chalk (in my little blue chalk holders).

    today I am a total "smart-board" convert. I use a Promethean board with an LCD projector. The board is my computer desktop, my pen is a mouse. Everything I write on the board is savable. I teach two classes of Honors Physics, and I can toggle back and forth between what I did in the previous class to what I am doing now. So if something went particularly well in the first class, I can repeat it almost exactly.

    Furthermore, I can put up Java applets on the board to show animated examples of things. Totally cool, and I'm only up to about 20% of what this thing is capable of.

    No dust, no fumes, no black grit, no cleaning.

    I just keep losing my Promethean pen.
  6. Feb 22, 2010 #5
    Yes those are quite awesome to say the least. Unfortunately, I'm your typical poor college student so I had to go with the 12 dollar melamine shower board from Lowe's. It's 32 square feet and nearly identical to any whiteboard in a given classroom. But just as soon as I find a few thousand lying around, I'll probably buy one of those smart boards.
  7. Feb 22, 2010 #6
    Not true, unless you buy quality whiteboard.
    Same thing, if you buy quality blackboard, no scratch will appear. I've seen century old blackboards. If you're going for the cheap stuff, the question is not relevant, as whatever you choose will be bad anyway. If you're going for the expensive stuff, you will later save money on chalk compared to markers (that's a big difference by the way). Besides, there is no chance of having someone use a permanent marker on a blackboard.

    Seriously though : if you are going to use the board moderately, a whiteboard is better. But for intensive use, like several square meters per hour, day long, then markers do become expensive, and the cleaning and dust created do become more inconvenient than chalk.
  8. Feb 22, 2010 #7

    Not an actual scratch on the blackboard, but the fingernails on the blackboard "scratch" You dont get that with a regular whiteboard!
  9. Feb 22, 2010 #8
    Overhead view graphs with colored pens - old school.
  10. Feb 22, 2010 #9
    That gnarly yellow light from the overhead projectors in my elementary school gave me a headache and reminded me of pee.
  11. Feb 22, 2010 #10

    George Jones

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  12. Feb 22, 2010 #11
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  13. Feb 22, 2010 #12

    But really, whiteboard. I like chalkboard for it being classic... but for a lot of use I'd say whiteboard.
  14. Feb 22, 2010 #13

    Chi Meson

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    I was going to say, "what about grease pencil on glass?" That appears to be very common, at least in the movies ("Good Will Hunting," "A Beautiful Mind).

    Another thing: My first year of teaching I had a real slate blackboard. When you had really good quality chalk, there was nothing that felt better to write with. I swear, even my handwriting looked better with it.

    But there is not good quality chalk to be had anymore. Just like everything, it's cheap crap only.
  15. Feb 23, 2010 #14
    Whiteboard, because I HATE the feel of chalk on my fingers. The very thought of holding a piece of chalk makes me cringe.
  16. Feb 23, 2010 #15
    I used to love chalkboards....until I got one. Now that I have a working whiteboard, I think it's 10x better than chalk.

    However in the area I use mine the marker fumes tend to build up and...well you know.
  17. Feb 23, 2010 #16


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    For lecturing or personal use? What distance do you need to see the writing on the board from?

    In a small space, my office, or for notes to myself, a white board is better (less dust mess). However, in a large lecture hall, I've noticed that white boards are very difficult to read from greater distances, and the glare on them seems worse than with chalkboards. So, in large lecture settings, I still prefer a chalkboard.

    Of course, for the most part, that has all been replaced with digital equipment. I'm not quite fond of using the digital projector we have yet (one that is used like an overhead projector, except you can write on plain paper and the image is projected through the classroom slide projector), but that's because of the way they're placed in our lecture halls...I like to stand in front of the class where the students can actually see me, and all of our projection equipment is piled up on a desk in the corner of the room and I'm too short to see or be seen over it all if I stand behind that desk to use it for my lectures. If I could wheel a cart with just the one equipment and a wireless mouse for the computer just slightly to the side of the projection screen, I'd probably use some of that equipment more. But, y'know, the people who built and designed our lecture rooms didn't think the people who teach in them needed to be involved in the design process. :rolleyes:
  18. Feb 23, 2010 #17


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    Could never write on a blackboard - my hand writing is terrible anyway - and I can't do diagrams with chalk.

    ps - anyone tried to build this ? http://johnnylee.net/projects/wii/
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  19. Feb 23, 2010 #18
    I like to use whiteboards as long as the markers are refillable/recyclable.
  20. Feb 23, 2010 #19
    It seems as though all the younger ones are choosing the whiteboard whereas all the older ones are choosing chalkboard out of nostalgia. Just an observation.
  21. Feb 23, 2010 #20
    I've been meaning to build one of those for a while now. I just haven't had the time to get around to it yet.
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