# White versus Chalk Board

sean1234
I'm considering getting a board for use in problem solving here at home. I am trying to decide between the traditional chalk and the modern white board. A few considerations: health impact dust/marker; messiness; viewability; cost. If you have anything else to add, please do.

Sean

pattylou
The white board markers dry out too quickly. THe white board can become hard to erase properly.

On the other hand, I recall six months of my mother coughing uncontrollably frmo all the dust she breathed while teaching from a blackboard. I don't know why the problem started and then wemnt away, but for those six months the dust was torture for her.

Homework Helper
High school teacher opinion:

Chalkboards that are worth a darn are hard to come by these days. If you can find a real slate board, grab it. The green boards are just a special paint. IF you can get one just like schools have, it's OK, but don't get a cheap one, they don't erase well.

WHite boards are my favorite because you can have several bright colors for drawing different levels or lines or whatever.

As long as you have: an inexaustable supply of markers (about 20 times the number you first think you are going to need--They dry out so fast); you must NOT use those infernal erasers (They are only good for a day or two, then must be thrown away. Instead get a box of paper "shop towels" from an auto supply. They look like heavy duty napkins. Much better for erasing).

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Chi Meson said:
High school teacher opinion:

Chalkboards that are worth a darn are hard to come by these days. If you can find a real slate board, grab it. The green boards are just a special paint. IF you can get one just like schools have, it's OK, but don't get a cheap one, they don't erase well.

WHite boards are my favorite because you can have several bright colors for drawing different levels or lines or whatever.

As long as you have: an inexaustable supply of markers (about 20 times the number you first think you are going to need--They dry out so fast); you must NOT use those infernal erasers (They are only good for a day or two, then must be thrown away. Instead get a box of paper "shop towels" from an auto supply. They look like heavy duty napkins. Much better for erasing).

I have to agree that I like the choice of colors for a white board. I currently have a white board and about 15 colors of markers that I use to outline different experiments.

As for the eraser issue, yeah, those things are awful. I just have a roll of toilet paper I keep near the white board. You also don't need to spend the money on the "whiteboard cleaner." I'm trying to recall what's in it...I think it was just isopropyl alcohol. You can buy a reusable spray bottle for 99 cents and a bottle of isopropyl alcohol from the grocery store for another 99 cents and will have all you need. Using the alcohol removes the oils that get on the board from your hands, which is what makes it hard to write on after a while. It also is a good solvent for the markers, so you can clean it when you haven't erased in a while.

I hate chalk dust, so would avoid a blackboard, even if you could find a good one (plus it will be heavy, so hard to mount anywhere). You'll probably need to wipe it down with a wet sponge fairly regularly to keep down the dust and keep it clean enough to use. Colored chalk doesn't erase well at all, so if you want to use multi-colors, you'll have to use a wet sponge to clean the board, unlike the white board where it doesn't matter what colors you use.

Gold Member
I just remodeled my living room into an office/library. My choice is for a chalk board because I think that white boards are tacky. A classic library should have a fine slate board. I am even considering replacing the white board/coak board in my back hallway with a cheap chalk board, it'll get used more often.

Another reason I went with chalk is that I can write a whole lot faster with it than a marker when I am cranking along thru a problem.

Mentor
Dr Transport said:
I just remodeled my living room into an office/library. My choice is for a chalk board because I think that white boards are tacky. A classic library should have a fine slate board. I am even considering replacing the white board/coak board in my back hallway with a cheap chalk board, it'll get used more often.

Another reason I went with chalk is that I can write a whole lot faster with it than a marker when I am cranking along thru a problem.
A real slate board is definitely more elegant than a whiteboard. The feel of chalk on a good chalkboard is nice, but there are benefits to having colors for intricate diagrams, which I mostly do.

So, for me, chalkboard for aesthetics, whiteboard for functionality.

Townsend
Evo said:
So, for me, chalkboard for aesthetics, whiteboard for functionality.

I don't get it...why not just use different colored chalk?

abhishek
I prefer whiteboards. When chalkboards age and get lighter, it becomes horrible to read off. May be just my eyes. Whiteboards get stained too but it's not so bad.

I don't get to write much on either of them, but I prefer whiteboards again, especially if the marker is nice and new and smooth.

Homework Helper
I've had a large white board for about 8 years. It's holding up well. I use the spray to keep it clean but usually the eraser is good enough. The smell is a bit bad while it's drying (a minute maybe?). I use it for a to-do list and a grocery list. It cost I think about $150.00 but now, I'd just make one out of a large sheet of masonite that you could buy at Home-Depot for about$30.00. I think that would work anyway.

Townsend
abhishek said:
When chalkboards age and get lighter, it becomes horrible to read off.

The cheap kind maybe...watch the videos for differential equations from the MIT open course ware...those boards are better than any white board out there. The professor in the video makes very good use of multi-colored chalk and since his chalk is bigger...it is easier to read than a white board would be. Especially for people with bad eyes... ...

abhishek
Townsend said:
The cheap kind maybe...watch the videos for differential equations from the MIT open course ware...those boards are better than any white board out there. The professor in the video makes very good use of multi-colored chalk and since his chalk is bigger...it is easier to read than a white board would be. Especially for people with bad eyes... ...

Hah, I don't doubt MIT have good boards. I expect there is a significant price differential to be accounted for though. As well as an unusual maintenance regimen.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I prefer the old computer hooked up to a plasma screen, myself.

Mentor
For my line of work, I use Visio, but a whiteboard is still nice to sketch ideas.

zoobyshoe
Zoobies go outside and draw in the dirt.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Townsend said:
I don't get it...why not just use different colored chalk?
Chalk is limited to only about 6 or 7 colors, and some don't look very different. It's hard to tell orange from yellow or green from blue in chalks. Whilteboard markers come in a lot more colors (you can get more than the pack of 4 standard colors), and they are more distinctly different...you can even tell dark green from light green in those.

Homework Helper
Dr Transport said:
I just remodeled my living room into an office/library. My choice is for a chalk board because I think that white boards are tacky. A classic library should have a fine slate board. I am even considering replacing the white board/coak board in my back hallway with a cheap chalk board, it'll get used more often.

Another reason I went with chalk is that I can write a whole lot faster with it than a marker when I am cranking along thru a problem.

I got to agree: I LOVE the feel of writing on a real slate board. It makes the chalk feel like butter instead of some bicarbonate.

Echo 6 Sierra
When I pick up a piece of chalk I immediately get the creepy feeling like when your fingernail accidently scrapes the board :yuck: plus, I wear a lot of navy. White boards all the way.

Homework Helper
Gold Member
I'd love a slate chalkboard in my office... but I think I'd prefer a whiteboard at home... unless my office was in the garage. (When I visiting an institute in Mexico, they had a nice glass chalkboard, which I had never seen before. Quite stylish.)

What kind of "problem solving" do you do at home?

Here are some newer electronic alternatives... just in case you'd consider these.

These days, I've actually stopped using the whiteboards in classrooms and use a http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/tabletpc/default.mspx (with a projector). I often want to save what I write down in class. All of my class notes and my personal calculations are done on it... and I can go anywhere with it and be close to my notes.

If you need that "big board" experience, you could also try the http://www2.smarttech.com/st/en-US/Products/SMART+Boards/default.htm [Broken] line.

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