A whiteboard (also known as a wipeboard, markerboard, dry-erase board, dry-wipe board or a pen-board, and also commonly mistaken as a greaseboard) is a name for any glossy surface, most commonly colored white, where non-permanent markings can be made. Whiteboards operate analogously to chalkboards in that they allow markings to temporarily adhere to the surface of the board. The popularity of whiteboards increased rapidly in the mid-1980s and they have become a fixture in many offices, meeting rooms, school classrooms, and other work environments.
The term whiteboard is also used metaphorically to refer to features of computer software applications that simulate whiteboards. Virtual whiteboards allow one or more people to write or draw images on a simulated canvas. This is a common feature of many virtual meeting, collaboration, and instant messaging applications. Today, the term Whiteboard is also used to refer to interactive whiteboards.
Modern whiteboards evolved from chalkboards.
In the mid 1960s, the first whiteboards (also called markerboards) began to appear on the market. In classrooms, their widespread adoption didn’t occur until the late 1980s and early 1990s when concern over allergies and other potential health risks posed by chalk dust prompted the replacement of many blackboards with whiteboards.
The first whiteboards were very expensive and were made of a melamine surface. It was the "perfect" solution to the chalkboard, except that it ghosted in a short time and was not easy to keep clean. The first enamel-on-steel write-on/ wipe-off magnetic whiteboard is believed to have been created by Magiboards in the UK. Inventor Michael Boone of the United States, was the first to successfully mass-market the "Boone Board" brand dry-erase board.
Over the last 10 years, the enamel-on-steel magnetic whiteboard has gone through some improvements, such as cost reduction and a reduction in glare caused by the glossy surface. The current trend is porcelain steel magnetic dry erase boards. These are regarded as the highest quality in the industry. They are now very common in schools, universities, hospitals, etc.
Glue backed whiteboard sheets, posters, and rolls are available, permitting any surface, even if irregularly shaped or non-level to be turned into a whiteboard writing surface.
There are four types of materials commonly used for whiteboard surfaces:
Only special whiteboard markers are suitable for use on whiteboards. Using other markers that resemble whiteboard markers but contain the wrong kind of ink creates markings that are hard or impossible to remove, depending on the surface type (see Surface Materials above). 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 commercially available from the whiteboard manufacturers.
The white background can cause contrast problems for people with vision impairment. Additionally, whiteboards cause some problems for those who write left-handed as many write with their hand curved around the pen, therefore causing their hand to drag across the board, smearing the marker strokes previously made. Similarly, right-handed people have this problem with right-to-left languages, such as Arabic. This limitation is also present with a chalkboard.
When writing with chalk, it is also much more possible to distinguish and draw heavier and lighter lines, as it is more pressure sensitive than writing with pen on a whiteboard.
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. Chalk also creates markings of equal intensity throughout its lifetime whereas whiteboard markers begin to fade in intensity almost immediately after first use (when the marker becomes too faint to read it is considered dead).
Finally, whiteboard markers often have a pungent and strong odor (depending on brand and color) whereas chalk is odorless.
A whiteboard, also called a markerboard, is a drawing surface on which markings made with markers are visible. It is used as a surface to write on. Whiteboards are often used to help teach. Special markers are used that can be erased. Whiteboards usually have a glossy surface. In the past, when the whiteboards were not yet created, people used blackboards, where you needed to use chalk instead of markers. Now, there is another improvement, people are now using electronic whiteboards, where it is controlled by a computer.