(also known as a marker board, dry-erase board, dry-wipe board or a pen-board
) is a name for any surface, most commonly colored white, where non-permanent markings can be made. Whiteboards are used similarly to chalkboards, in that they allow writing or markings to temporarily adhere to the surface of the whiteboard and be easily erased. Instead of using chalk (as on chalkboards) to make the markings, a special whiteboard marker
containing an erasable ink is used. Whiteboards are now constructed with many different materials; the least expensive of which, are melamine resins, high pressure laminates, or polyester coated steel. The more expensive and higher quality models are now made from glass
or porcelain enameled steel
. The popularity and use of whiteboards increased rapidly in the mid-1990s, as they became the preferred writing surfaces for schools and businesses alike. Since then, whiteboards have become a permenant fixture in offices, conference rooms, schools and universities.
The greatest advantage to whiteboards, is that they are more cost effective than chalkboards. In comparison to chalkboards, whiteboards are less expensive to buy, install, ship and maintain a lower running cost. Another, equally great advantage, is the elimination of chalk. Whiteboards are not messy to use and do not create harmful and allergenic dust particles, such as those produced by chalk and blackboards. Whiteboard markers
leave no dust on on a users hands or clothing and can be easily wiped off, if necessary. Whiteboard markings are also less susceptible to external factors, such as humidity and water, because the ink adheres in a different manner than chalk does to chalkboards.
A whiteboard can also be used as the projecting medium for an overhead, multimedia or interactive projector. This allows the person giving the presentation to fill in blanks, edit, underline and make comments by writing directly onto the whiteboard, which in turn shows through the projected image. A marker is also easier to hold and write with than chalk. Writing with a marker takes less time, effort and pressure than marking on a chalkboard. This can benefit persons with limited mobility in their hands, such as those affected by diseases and physical disabilities.
Whiteboards require the use of only special whiteboard markers. Using other markers that resemble whiteboard markers but contain the wrong kind of ink creates markings that are hard or impossible to remove. However, some techniques have been developed, which include filling over them using a marker with the right type of removable ink and then erasing the ink; wiping the marks with acetone or alcohol; or by using board cleaning sprays
or prepackaged wipes. The white background can cause contrast problems for people with vision impairment. Another disadvantage of the whiteboard is concerned with the issues of the actual usable ink remaining in a dry-erase marker. Since the markers are often tightly sealed in plastic, it is not possible to accurately gauge the amount of ink available. In contrast, blackboards, using chalk do not have this problem as the chalk visibly reduces with use.
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