Chalkboards-An Endangered Species
Have you visited a classroom lately?
I was thinking the other day about how chalkboards, or blackboards, have been virtually eliminated in classrooms.
Will our grandkids and their kids even know what they are?
Can you imagine that?
Something so simple and so vital to our growing up years may soon be extinct.
A Little History
The first blackboards were originally made from thin sheets of smooth black or gray slate stone. They were first introduced into American classrooms around 1801. They weren't referred to as chalkboards until the late 1930s. Sticks of chalk are actually sticks of calcium sulphate or gypsum.
Something I learned while researching for this hub was that one of the manufacturer's recommendations is that you completely cover the chalkboard using the side of a stick of chalk and brush it back off before using it the first time. This evidently prepares the chalkboard making it easier to erase.
Factors Leading to Their Extinction
Chalkboards produce dust that some find uncomfortable, irritating and some are even allergic to it. There have been links between chalk dust and respiratory problems. The dust can also produce problems for dust-sensitive equipment and electronics such as computers.
Then you have everyone's favorite, the scratching or dragging of one's fingernails across the chalkboard. This sound, or even the threat of this sound can be quite irritating to many.
With products such as Microsoft's PowerPoint and overhead projecting equipment, more and more people are designing sophisticated presentations that eliminate the need for a chalkboard.
Non-Classroom Uses for Chalkboards
Chalkboards are sometimes used in other areas outside of classrooms.
At home, they can be used to jot down things to remember to do, grocery lists, or appointments. It can be a great way to keep up with the kids' busy schedules and reminding each other to take out the trash, pick up the mail, or do the laundry.
In restaurants they are used to announce daily specials or featured menu selections. Sometimes they are on easeled boards at the entrance. I have seen one restaurant cover an entire wall in the restroom with a chalkboard. Think about it, if people are prone to writing graffiti all over the bathroom wall at least make it so that you can allow them to do that, but you can still clean it off with a simple swipe with a damp towel. I thought it was ingenious!
Some organized sporting events like darts or pool, etc. may use chalkboards to keep score. Clubs may also use them to announce drink specials, happy hour, or special events like karaoke night, 1/2 price night, etc.
Did you know you can buy chalkboard paint and chalkboard decals? This paint will allow you to turn ordinary items or spaces into writable surfaces. I've seen all sorts of things turned into chalkboards and sold at craft stores. A popular item is a Christmas countdown calendar to count down the days until Christmas. The decals simply stick to walls and turn that space into a chalkboard.
Chalkboard Cartoon Animation
A Word About Chalk-That's Easy For You to Say
When I was looking up some information about chalk, I ran across this and found it to be quite humorous.
Chalk (pronounced /tʃɔːk/) Click on the link to see what I mean.
I don't know about you, but that's not how we say it in Texas.
Great Links and Resources
- Forbes.com Video Network | Technology: Chalkboards Get Smart
How schools are using a new interactive display technology in the classroom.
- Everything Chalkboards