Adventures in Ethics and Science

Why is it that it’s not until you’re right in the middle of a class discussion, one where lots of people are actively engaged, asking good questions and raising important issues, and where you know that you are working against the clock to get all the contributions in, that you discover …

… that the white board, where you have been tracking key points in the discussion (and which you need to erase to collect the new points that people are raising now), will no longer release the dry erase marker with a dry cloth?

And, at that point, in the absence of a water bottle, what alternative is there to spitting on the cloth?

Comments

  1. #1 tbell1
    March 11, 2010

    If u still have markers that work, just scribble/rewrite over the stuff you want to erase. That will put a little of the solvent in the markers onto the board, and then you usually can erase it. This trick also works on other types of ink (like if you have accidentally written on the white board with a permanent marker)

  2. #2 becca
    March 11, 2010

    Re-write over the board with the marker (scribble all over it), and erase with the cloth immediately. The liquid marker resolubilizes the excessively dried writing.
    Or pull out your handy-dandy hand sanitizer from Scio10 that’s mostly ethanol and spray that on the board.
    Or write smaller in betwixt the existing writing.
    Or use your lighter (or a students, if necessary) to set off the fire sprinklers and use the water from that.
    Or order one of your students to spit on the board for you.
    Or use another relatively transparent bodily fluid of your choice. You can always tell your students there will be no curve and get some tears; that’d probably be the least icky.
    Or write directly on your students/desks/walls/what have you.

  3. #3 Tony P
    March 11, 2010

    I know the answer. Smartboard. You can even save annotated screens.

  4. #4 Rosie Redfield
    March 11, 2010

    Are your whiteboard markers water-soluble? Ours aren’t.

  5. #5 Namnezia
    March 11, 2010

    Or what about the time when you are giving a lecture, writing on transparencies on an overhead projector and suddenly realizing as you go to put in a fresh transparency that you have been directly writing on the overhead projector with a permanent marker.

  6. #6 Laura
    March 11, 2010

    Always carry some ethanol! If hand sanitizer is not available, a hip flask of liquor will do.

  7. #7 Namnezia
    March 11, 2010

    Laura, that hip flask would also really come in handy while giving those long lectures…

  8. #8 Eric
    March 12, 2010

    This is why I prefer chalkboards – I have never had a piece of chalk fail to write. I have never had a problem erasing what was up there. While chalk does produce dust, it does *not* produce nasty smells.

    I am dismayed by our university’s desire to remove all of the chalkboards from the rooms and then replace them with a single white-board. I used to have students get up and all go to the boards at once to work on problems in small groups, but I can’t do that anymore except in one classroom (which is too small to hold the number of students we usually have in a service course – typically 35-45).

  9. #9 Pat Cahalan
    March 12, 2010

    This is an over/under technology problem; whiteboards are in the middle. Chalkboards (Eric) or Tablet PC & a Projector (My Suggestion).

    I like mine, because you can save the images and post ‘em places, but it has the drawbacks of lugging around a computer and “ewww… technology!”

    Laura’s deserves a nod for outside the box thinking, but the stuff I put in *my* hip flask wouldn’t go anywhere except down a gullet :)

  10. #10 Estraven
    March 12, 2010

    Count me for the chalkboard.
    But that’s because I’m a mathematician, and I need huge boards (think 6′x4′, two pairs in each I can switch the higher and the lower). There’s no way my university can afford a smartboard that size.
    The day they give me a projector that can duplicate that, or better four projectors, I’ll be on Pat Cahalan’s side.

  11. #11 Super Sally
    March 13, 2010

    While TA-ing Physics many years ago at CCNY, utilizing chalkboards exclusively (only technology of the past was available to TAs), I quickly found that I needed to carry my own chalk and blackboard eraser along to classes, particularly those assign to rooms not normally used by the full profs. I cannot tell you whether it was incompetence or sabotage that these disappeared from those classrooms before I got there to teach, but it effectively stopped the physics class when I had filled both panels of BB if I did not bring my own.

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