Ode to the Chalkboard (early 1800’s – late 1900’s)
The slates of old. Literally slate. Stone in the hands of students for years as they worked out their math problems or practiced their penmanship in small eight-sided schoolhouses. These fragments were one day brilliantly hung together in a large wall of slate (either by Scottish teacher James Pillans in the or West Point Professor George Baron) to aid in instruction. And so, the chalkboard (or blackboard) was born.
This was the first educational technology, the first time that teachers could address the students as a class, to teach a lesson as a whole. This method of instruction graced classrooms across the globe as an inexpensive, portable product that could be used with only the aid of a compressed stick of chalk. However, it was not to last.
By the 1990’s chalkboards were beginning to be phased out in a large scale. In their place, the whiteboard took hold. No more after school detentions knocking together chalk erasers, no more screeching of fingernails across the shiny black surface, no more clouds of chalk dust when the eraser thumped against the board. Now was the squeal of markers against the shiny white laminate and the occasional exclamation of teachers as they wrote with a permanent marker by mistake.
Yet even as we transition again into SMARTboards, the chalkboard has not been forgotten. It will forever be memorialized in the application Blackboard. The chalkboard may be gone, but its legacy lives on.
If you would like to learn more about SMARTboards and the application Blackboard check out our workshop offerings!
Avenia, Tara. “The History and Future of the Chalkboard.” ETEC540 Text Technologies Community Weblog. University of British Columbia, 28 October 2012. Web. 06 February 2014.
Oliveras, Xorje. “Death of the Chalkboard: Declining Sales Driven by Cheap Whiteboard Production.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 30 October 2009. Web. 06 Feb. 2014.