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- Whiteboards vs Chalkboards – 3 Interesting facts -

Are you old enough to remember chalkboards in your classroom? Kids being made to stay behind to clean the dust, oh the dust, that was everywhere, including your shorts and shirts. Here are some interesting facts about the history of these products and when whiteboards became the ‘norm’.

When did whiteboards replace chalkboards?

Whilst whiteboards started gaining traction in the 70’s, blackboards, or chalkboards were still being used in schools until the early nineties. Businesses were much slower to adopt whiteboards, they it wasn’t until the mid-1990’s they became commonplace in business boardrooms. 

Why did Whiteboards Replace Blackboards?

Chalk particles release into the air and can cause allergies and respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing and asthma. Whiteboard markers were seen as a safer alternative, so they started phasing blackboards out in the 1970’s.

Why are Whiteboards Better than Chalkboards?

Well, it’s a matter of what information you’re trying to convey. Chalkboards, or blackboards have their place. Chalk has an interesting texture that kids love, and the pastel colours give whatever you draw or write a certain style. Whilst whiteboard markers are generally easier to write with, can be seen easier, and have a completely different look which is better for technical information.

Are chalkboards or whiteboards best for kids?

We’ve found that with kids drawing they don’t seem to mind whether it is a blackboard or a whiteboard. They don’t care.  They draw on either.  Where we’ve hit difficulties is with the fragility of chalk. The small sticks of chalk that your teachers at school write with are quite brittle, and break if you push them too hard or drop them. I’m sure you’ve all experienced trying to write on a blackboard and all that’s left is a nub of chalk.  Small children struggle to get the correct pressure with chalk, or often drop it. We found that this was quite a big deal when our oldest child was tired or hungry (which seems like all the time), the chalk would break, and it would be the end of the world. For a short while at least.

Are chalkboards of whiteboards easier to write on?

Whiteboards pens glide across dry erase surfaces easily. This makes it easier to write legibly, smaller than with chalk. Also, because they have a much lighter backing than a blackboard (obviously), they are easier to see. Where a white, surface will reflect the light, black absorbs it. Did you know that a yellow background with black text provides the best contrast, and thus, is the easiest to see? More contrast makes it easier to see small detail. Check out our Think Space or Goal Dot in Yellow!

Are chalkboards or whiteboards easier to clean?

When it comes to cleaning. Chalkboards tend to create more chalk dust, which is thought to be bad for allergies and repertory illnesses. To clean your chalkboard try using Coca Cola, the acid and the colour helps remove the debris. Whiteboards still create some dust, but not as much.  They can be cleaned quite easily with surface cleaner. Cheap whiteboards will suffer from ghosting. This is be expected with melamine or cheap stick-on whiteboards. 


We’ve found that when you want to clearly represent information with more than one colour, a whiteboard is better. If you have less information and want to write in bold, then a blackboard could work as a solution.

In today’s information heavy world, we believe using a whiteboard is more practical, but we may be biased!

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