Writing board

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A large board in class

A writing board or blackboard is a surface that allows writing that is easy to remove. The z. B. information applied with chalk can be wiped off later; the board can then be labeled again.


Illustration of a school with a writing board from Comenius ' Orbis sensualium pictus

Various forms of boards for holding information are already known from ancient times. Depending on the culture and local conditions, stone , clay , wax , ivory or slate tablets were used, which were also bound together to form a booklet if necessary .

In Johann Amos Comenius ' Orbis sensualium pictus from 1653 there is an illustration of a classroom with a blackboard inscribed with chalk, so it can be assumed that the writing board was already widespread at that time. The Scot James Pillans (1778–1864, rector at the Royal High School , later professor at the University of Edinburgh ) describes in detail in his book Physical and Classical Geography in 1854 the use of a writing board and colored chalk in geography lessons. From 1801 George Baron (1769-1812) is said to have used a blackboard for mathematics lessons at the US Military Academy in West Point . In 1809, the first public school board was installed in Philadelphia.


Originally, wooden panels painted in a dark, matt color (usually dark green or black) were used for today's large panels , as slates of this size were too expensive. Occasionally stone cardboard was also used. Later board surfaces were made of plastic or glass , modern green boards usually have a surface made of steel enamel . They are also available with pre-printed ruling (similar to exercise books).

The chalk that is used to write on green boards can easily be removed with a sponge, a damp cloth, a special board wipe or a piece of wood pasted with felt . A disadvantage of green boards is that the chalk, depending on its quality, creates dust when wiping the board . The noises generated by scratching the blackboard, with fingernails or - to an increased extent - harder objects are perceived as particularly unpleasant by most people. The sound of the blackboard chalk on the blackboard is created by the stick-slip effect .


Green boards and chalk are still traditionally used in teaching in schools and universities because of their ease of use. In subject didactics there are a number of methodological treatises on their use. In teacher training, therefore, emphasis is still placed on the design of a blackboard picture . But even in these training centers they are increasingly in competition with whiteboards that can be written on with their own pens , flipcharts with which work results can be better secured due to their poster character, or the interactive whiteboards , which allow a large methodological range of variation and which are increasingly offered at lower prices .

In the presentation area, boards are still used due to the simple new labeling and their sometimes nostalgic character (e.g. as day tickets in front of restaurants).

In diving, too, smaller writing boards made of light-colored plastic are used to communicate underwater, especially when hand signals are no longer sufficient. A pencil tied with a ribbon is usually used as a writing instrument. Some of these writing boards are made of plastic, which has luminescent properties and thus increases readability, especially in the dark.

Large table

Blackboards are usually attached to the wall with rails and rollers and are often provided with side panels that can be opened and closed and which can be written on on both sides. Smaller standing boards often have the shape of an easel .

Lifting or sliding panels are panels that can be moved vertically up and down. Usually at least two of them are arranged one behind the other so that one board can be written on while another is easy to read in a high position. This is particularly advantageous in large lecture halls . Large lifting panel systems are mostly operated electrically and can contain up to four panels in a row. There are also arrangements in which the panels do not run individually in parallel rails, but rather several are arranged per rail, or the panels run up and down again at the front like a carousel in a rail construction. Sometimes, instead of one wide one, two less wide lifting panel systems are arranged side by side.

The logical continuation of the lifting table principle are endless tables. There is actually no board anymore, just an endless belt made of green board material, which can be driven by hand crank or electrically so that it runs back and forth between two wall slots. This is particularly suitable for long arguments or calculations in structural and natural sciences.


Blackboard for the student with sponge and cleaning rag
Slate pen for writing on slate board

Until the 1970s in Germany, as a rule, pupils used writing boards for learning to write and arithmetic in elementary and elementary schools . These were made of slate until the 1960s , so-called slate panels, later they were replaced by plastic panels, which were cheaper and above all (in contrast to slate) were not fragile. Occasionally, the use of blackboards is even documented as early as the early 1990s. On the boards there were mostly writing lines on one side and squares on the other. The board was kept in a sturdy cardboard box called a board saver . These tablets were written with pens that were kept in a pen case , also called a pen box. The board was cleaned with a sponge , which later found space in a sponge can , and then dried with a cloth. The rag that hung down to dry on the outside of the satchel, often self-crocheted and tied to the blackboard with a string, was mandatory at that time. The use of a slate was due to the lack of paper and the ease of correction. Originally you wrote on a piece of raw slate.

The German Slate Museum in Steinach and the Slate Museum in Ludwigsstadt provide information on the history of the slate.


Mobile whiteboard with lettering
Pens for whiteboards, so-called whiteboard markers

The white board of the whiteboard (from English whiteboard , German White board ) has a special, smooth surface made of white plastic or white enamelled metal plate, on which with special markers is written. These board markers or whiteboard markers exist in various colors and line widths. What is written can easily be wiped off with a dry sponge or cloth. Magnets can also be used to attach notes or similar to the metallic whiteboards.

In addition to simple wall boards, there are also height-adjustable lift boards and large boards with hinged side panels. There are also mobile whiteboards on castors.

A digital development with an imaging through Video projector provides the interactive whiteboard is. There are now also tablet computers tabular large LCD screen and touch screen on the market.

"Slate" for film and photo

The "Slate" (English for board ) is a board measuring approx. 10 cm × 20 cm to 20 cm × 30 cm made of mostly white translucent plastic which can be labeled with whiteboard markers. It is used to separate and mark / designate film scenes (takes) or image series in photography and is recorded at the beginning of the take or image series. It is used for films when the image-sound synchronization with the clapperboard is not required. Translucent material is chosen to ensure perfect legibility even in backlight.

Web links

Commons : Blackboard  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Writing board  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Blackboard  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  • Franz Wich: The big book on the school blackboard . Projekt-Verlag Cornelius, Halle 2008, ISBN 978-3-86634-403-7 .

Individual evidence

  1. see also: Writing board by Marsiliana d'Albegna
  2. ^ Physical and Classical Geography
  3. http://www.personal.psu.edu/mas53/timln800.html
  4. Heinrich Bosse: "The pupils have to learn to write themselves" or The establishment of the slate . In: Sandro Zanetti (Hrsg.): Writing as a cultural technique: basic texts . Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-518-29637-0 , pp. 101 .
  5. on different methods of dealing with the blackboard in class with Sitte W. 2001 .
  6. Digital blackboards: Bye-bye, chalk. In: Spiegel online .