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I Hate Blackboards

Cosmic VarianceBy Julianne DalcantonSeptember 23, 2009 6:44 PM


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I enjoy teaching.

But I really hate blackboards.

I’m not sure what the results of Chad’s latest poll will be, but I’m betting that I’m in the minority of scientists. The scientific community contains many former social outcasts who grew up flaunting the social rules, and yet have completely bought into the idea that using blackboards makes you look like a Real Scientist.

Well screw that. Students in the back can’t see what you write. You get dust all over your clothes. The chalk dries out your finger tips. The dust gets all over the floor, making a mess for your overburdened cleaning staff. For a community that prides itself on moving forward, why are we stuck with a 200+ year old technology that doesn’t work all that well?

Now, white boards have their problems too. They’re easier to see, but the markers are always dried out (and expensive to replace as well). They also are somewhat dusty (though not nearly as bad as chalk). Progress, but not perfect.

The solution, however, currently lies in your toddler’s grasp.

The Magna Doodle.

The Magna Doodle works by having small chambers filled with a thick liquid and magnetic filings. You drag a magnetic pen across the surface, and the metal filings jump to the surface, making the small chamber dark. To erase, you pull a lever that drags a magnet along the back surface, pulling the metal filings away from the front, making the chamber appear white again. No mess, no fuss, no need to replace any parts

It also is substantially easier to write on than the Etch-a-sketch. At least for most of us.

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