Yes: whiteboards every time, argues Ellen Jolley
I do see the irony of writing an anti-blackboard piece in a magazine called Chalkdust, but I have to be honest: writing on a blackboard is simply not practical, and sadly the dust in particular is a key culprit. Sure, we all feel smart and fancy writing our equations on blackboards—but what about afterwards when you look down to find your treasured Chalkdust T-shirt caked in its namesake? Not so fancy now are we? The problem doesn’t stop at your clothes either: your hands, all the surfaces in the room, the board itself, the insides of your students’ lungs… Expect a layer of residue covering each.
We can’t blame the dust for everything: of course we cannot forget that blackboards are also the source of the noise which is universally accepted to be the worst ever. Even keeping your fingernails out of the fray, the chalk itself is constantly squeaking. It is also harder and slower to write with chalk than with a marker, it’s a much bigger pain to rub off, and it constantly snaps or shrinks.
Old-fashioned is generally not better (hence how it came to be old-fashioned), and mathematicians’ insistence on using this ridiculous medium does nothing but harm our carefully crafted reputation as cool-headed, logical people. Time to leave chalkdust where it belongs: on the cover of this magazine and nowhere else.
No: blackboards are our raison d’être, argues Sophie Maclean
Without blackboards being associated with maths, we wouldn’t associate chalk with maths.
Without chalk being associated with maths, we wouldn’t associate chalkdust with maths.
Without chalkdust being associated with maths, we wouldn’t have Chalkdust.
Ergo, without blackboards, we wouldn’t have Chalkdust. Need I say any more?
More from Chalkdust
- And who's responsible for my minus sign errors?
- Which do you prefer?
- Why don't they?
- Ellen talks to the mathematician and scientist about Attenborough, arctan and Antarctica
- Win a £100 Maths Gear goody bag by solving our infamous puzzle
- Weddings, holidays and catfish find their way into the prof's postbox this issue.