Whiteboard Markers - Stinking Monsters or Life Savers?
More and more ESL and EFL schools nowadays are using whiteboards and whiteboard markers in their classrooms - instead of the old-fashioned and messy chalkboards.
Whiteboard markers and whiteboards (they became a hit in the mid-eighties) are generally regarded as being more convenient because of the number of great advantages they have.
We Love WhiteBoard Markers Because:
General Look: Corporate Feeling!
White looks nicer than black, brown, or dark green. The white color is percieved as the color of cleanliness and purity, while black is something aggressive. A whiteboard also makes the classroom look a bit more 'professional' and a bit less 'traditional' (by traditional I mean the ones that are being used in traditional schools).
Nobody wants to get the feeling that he's at school again, do we?
Multiple Colors: Let Your Imagination Go Wild!
You can use whiteboard markers of any color that your imagination wants (and that your boss has purchased!) - lots of colors and even shades of color are available nowadays, even the most exotic ones!
Yes, I have to admit it was also possible to use chalks of different color in the past, too, but remember what a mess they were?!
Now each whiteboard marker has a cap colored depending on the ink, which makes it very easy to tell them apart only after a quick glance.
Great Contrast: Increased Visibility!
Because of the white background, texts written by the darker color markers on the whiteboard look natural to the eye and are highly contrastive, as opposed to the green, brown, or black backgrounds of the old school boards.
Easily Erased: Fast and Painless!
It's pretty easy to erase whatever your creative brain has put onto the whiteboard (if you're lazy like me, you can even have one of your students do this for you!), no need to use that nasty wet cloth anymore.
The magnetic eraser is (well, at least it's supposed to be!) always at hand - use it when you need it.
Refillable: Be Green!
Most of the dry-erase markers available on the market today can be refilled (even though the school I used to work for never cared about this - we just threw the empty onew away and purchased new ones).
Magnetic: Don't Just Write!
Writing on the whiteboard is just one way of presenting information. There are more. Sticking something with small magnets is another. Great to use for presentations or all types of mix'n'match activities, etc.
Having read all of the above, chances are that you're now thinking about how cool these markers are and how they make a teacher's life easier.
Unfortunately, there are a few things that still upset us about whiteboard markers.
We Hate WhiteBoard Markers Because:
Short Life Span - Fade Too Fast
It's amazing how fast they run out of ink when you're least expecting this!
Seems like you got a new one only today, and the next morning your marker is producing thin, almost invisible lines and your students are shouting that they can't see anything! And you can say 'bye-bye' to your marker if you have left the cap off for a day or two: the marker will dry out faster than you notice it. Plus, there's no way to tell how much ink is left in each marker, so if you're preparing an important lesson or a presentation when you have to write a lot, bring a extra one or two in case yours runs out of ink!
For me, black was the one that I was using more than other colors, so I had to ask for a new one every other week or so... Rip-off, if you remember that they are pretty expensive!
Often Toxic and With Nasty Smell: Get Ready for a Headache!
Most whiteboard markers are producing a distinct and unhealthy smell, and there's nothing you can do about it. I have heard complaints from teachers who get constant headaches by the end of the day after writing a lot on a whiteboard and thus inhaling the fumes from their markers.
How many whiteboard markers did you throw away last week?
Unfortunately, because they are made of plastic, it would be harmful to the environment to throw these markers in the bin, since they will not degrade well. Too bad that around a billion of them get tossed away in North America alone! This is an awful amount of waste, if you think about it, and remember that they will sit in that landfill for eternity, they aren't going anywhere, ever. If they contain Xylene, it gets ugly: these small toxic bombs will stay there leaking Xylene into the soil (and often into the water table). Make sure you ask your school administrator to only use markers that do not contain Xylene.
Luckily, there have been a lot of 'odorless' markers around in the last couple of years, so I hope the 'stinky' ones will become history soon.
Not Reverse-Compatible With Permanent Markers: Watch Your Students!
Since whiteboard markers are not cheap, teachers tend to keep them away from teenage learners during the breaktime. Knowing this, kids just looove bringing their own markers from home hoping to draw a picture or two while you're not there. Unfortunately, some of them forget that whiteboards require specific dry-erase markers, and bring the ones they got.
Thousands of whiteboards are ruined every day around the world by pupils writing on them with permanent markers. Even though there are special liquids to 'white out' or dissolve the traces of such 'classroom crimes', your whiteboard will never be the same.
Buying a new whiteboard is often the only way out in such cases. So the next time you are about to buy some supplies for your EFL/ESL school, please consider eco-friendly, non toxic options.
Did you know?
Some modern whiteboard markers come with a tiny magnet built into their cap: you can conveniently clip it to the board. Very useful if you're keep forgetting where you left that last one!
What About You?
What effective ways to use whiteboards and whiteboard markers do YOU know?
What's your favorite whiteboard marker color? Why? Do you know anything about the psychological effect that the color you're using produces on the students?
That's all it takes for you to say 'thank you' for the articles you find useful! Use the buttons above to show us your love, we know you want to!
Get 25 'Like a Pro' ESL E-books at 70% OFF!
Don't miss this unique opportunity to get the complete 'Like a Pro' series (twenty-five phenomenally popular ESL best-sellers) at only $3/book. Unbeatably priced, this Bundle literally saves you hundreds of dollars and fits your budget just right!
Nowadays there are green chalk boards available that are also magnetic and can have lined sections for younger learners if necessary. In my country you can even have them custom-made. I like them when I don't have much to write and rather use flash cards. I do agree that my students looove to draw on the whiteboard which makes the markers fade even faster (I have to buy the markers not the school and they are expensive. Once I had a marker that had a nontoxic inscribed on it and yet smelled awful. My students hated it. I think smart boards are the best provided you have a small magnetic board at hand.
I would really like to get some useful insights into the following topics: -Realia: Bringing Real Life into the Classroom - Top 10 Software Programs Every Teacher Should Be Using On a Daily Basis
the problem with whiteboard markers is that they do not last long. you do not write like a teacher who writes with chalk because you have the feeling you are writing on a copybook so your handwriting is not big enough for everybody especially those sitting at the back.with small classes maybe things are different. where i teach most colleagues are for going back to the traditional blackboard and chalk. health risks are also questioned. karimatta
i don't think i would like a white board. the thing is that some makers are not that good and the white board becomes kind of ugly in time(all sorts of lines in different colours). honestly, even if i use a white board or a black one, there is not any difference
hey!! Thanks a Lot that's a real problem. Once our students brought some permanent markers and we got to erase them. Nothing but spirit-containing liquids helped. But they ruined the protecting layers, so now even with whiteboard markers it doesn't work. How can we restore the whiteboard? please?
If you by accident use a permanent marker - before you try the 'solutions' to get rid of the words etc. copy overwhat you have done using a normal drywipe marker and wipe off. It is amazing but generally it works.