Blackboard or whiteboard? Let’s take a look. 

Picture this. You’re sitting in a hot classroom on a beautifully average summer’s day when you hear that deafening screech of chalk gliding across the blackboard. 80s kids will have fond memories of covering their hands with chalk and enjoying the powdery mess that ensued while at school. 

Before long, we had the inception of the whiteboard – a glossy white sheet with a smooth surface that allows you to write and draw with non-permanent pens. The whiteboard is commonplace in schools all over the country, probably due to its minimal-mess properties and functionality in the classroom.

Is the whiteboard the true successor of the blackboard? How does it weigh up against the traditional chalk and cloth? 

Lady writing some music notes in chalk on a blackboard

Making the Change from Blackboard to Whiteboards

During the 90s, it became apparent that the dust residue left behind after using chalk was causing health issues in children and teachers with allergies. Alongside this, schools began to notice the dust affecting the classroom computers due to the chalk’s abrasiveness and its ability to clog cooling fans. 

These factors led to schools phasing out blackboard usage over the next decade and replacing them with whiteboards that were easier to clean and didn’t affect computer components. 

Originally, whiteboards were ‘wet-erase’ since dry-erase pens didn’t exist at the time. However, most whiteboards in the present day are made out of highly durable materials, making them more accessible and safer to use than ever before. 

So I know what you’re thinking. Which is better? Blackboard or Whiteboard? Here’s a list of pros and cons that should help you: 

Pros and Cons of Using a Blackboard

Pros of a Blackboard 

  • Unlike its liquid-based counterpart, chalk doesn’t dry out – ever! Even when you secure the lid properly, whiteboard markers tend to dry up pretty quickly. 
  • You can achieve much more artistic depth by increasing pressure for thicker lines. Likewise, decreasing pressure will give a lighter look, even allowing for shading. 
  • This can’t be replicated on traditional whiteboards as the markers only allow one shade level, creating less authentic-looking diagrams.

Cons of a Blackboard 

  • Chalk can be erased easily. While this is somewhat a pro, we’ve placed it as a con because if you need the information on the blackboard and you brush into it or your hand slips, you’ve lost some of the work. Not ideal. 
  • As mentioned at the beginning of the article, chalk dust is an absolute no-no in the classroom. Between breathing problems and malfunctioning computers – maybe it’s best to leave chalk and blackboard in the past… 
  • Blackboards are a lot messier than whiteboards. There’s no way around it. When using a blackboard, you will get chalk on you, and it can get pretty annoying when it’s all over your clothes! 
whiteboard in a classroom

Pros and Cons of Using a Whiteboard

Pros of a Whiteboard

  • You can write on whiteboards a lot easier than you can blackboards – due to the glossy surface allowing free movement of your hand.
  • The lack of a blackboard means you won’t have to deal with clouds of chalk dust clogging up your airways and computer fans! 
  • Whiteboards are significantly more straightforward to clean than blackboards, and modern-day whiteboards leave no ink stains when you wipe them away. 
  • Whiteboards can even double-up as projector screens due to their non-reflective surface – meaning you can also annotate projections during lessons. 

Cons of a Whiteboard

  • The major downside to whiteboards is the markers required to use them. They tend to dry out, and then you’re left with the plastic waste of another dried up whiteboard marker. 
  • If you opt for the cheapest whiteboards available, you could end up with one that collects ink stains. This isn’t suitable in classrooms where whiteboards will be used every day. 

With solid arguments for both sides, our pros and cons suggest that whiteboards are better suited in a classroom. In our opinion, the lack of chalk-fumes and increased readability sell it. 

What do you think? Whiteboard or Blackboard?

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