The Chalkboard May Soon Be a Thing of the Past
If you're wondering if chalkboards are still in use, the answer is yes, they are. However, white erasable and clear boards, and especially computerized display boards, are replacing the old blackboard, the icon of our education.
In elementary school, one of the classroom chores was to beat the chalk dust out of the black felt erasers – whacking them together, over and over, until the air cleared and the eraser looked clean again. If you were caught smacking the erasers against the school building, leaving white chalk dust and eraser marks imbedded into the surface, you would be given a bucket of water, a scrub brush and no recess for the rest of the week.
It looks like the blackboards, once made of thin black sheets of slate stone, will be getting whacked next.
In our world of laptops, smartphones and tablets, it's difficult to explain the importance of the invention originally called the blackboard. In 1801, the blackboard had a transformative impact on how teachers taught. Prior to that, students were taught verbally or through books, but the chalkboard afforded the students the ability to practice spelling and reading out loud as a group. The discovery of a Scottish headmaster, black was the traditional color but that changed in the 1930s when a green surface became more common and the word "chalkboard" came into use.
I recall my English teacher using the neon-colored chalk to teach us to differentiate the parts of speech. I credit that colored chalk for teaching me how to use the proper words to describe a product, or just commenting on an issue. What I am today largely is interconnected to a blackboard.
Come what may, at least I hope restaurants don't go the way of schools, and always keep their colorful blackboard kiosks out on the sidewalk or on blackboard specials gracing the wall. Sometimes there are things in life that aren't meant to stay, but sometimes, there are things meant to stay around.
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