The use of white board as a visual aid

Definition of audio visual aids

The term audiovisual (AV) aids is generally used for materials used which possesses both a sound and a visual component, for example films, television programs, church services, slide-tape presentations and live theatre productions. The combination of sound and visual make an audio-visual aid a very good instructional material; audio referring to that which we can hear, and visual referring to that which we can see.

White board as a visual aid

A white board is a reusable writing surface on which text or drawings are made with temporary markers made of different colours. White board is a recent development which had it origin from the chalkboards. White boards are made of smooth, thin sheets of white slates.

The white board is the most flexible medium for instruction. It is very useful in presenting different of instructional materials like charts, graphs, and pictures. It is considered as an important medium for demonstration of a certain lesson.

Origin of white board

The white board is the 21st century of version of the chalk board. The invention of the white is from the call on the need to reduce the dusts that result from the use of chalk board and its associated danger to asthmatic patients which are usually allergic to dust. It was also based on the need for a more hygienic way of using the chalk board without making the users’ hands to be dirty. The origin of chalk board can be traced to writing slate was in use in Indian schools in the 11th century as mentioned in Alberuni’s Indica (Tarikh Al-Hind), written in the early 11th century: They use black tablets for the children in the schools, and write upon them along the long side, not the broadside, writing with a white material from the left to the right.

The first classroom uses of large chalkboards are difficult to date, but they were used for music education and composition in Europe as far back as the sixteenth century. The term “blackboard” is attested in English from the mid-eighteenth century; the Oxford English Dictionary provides a citation from 1739, to write “with Chalk on a black-Board”. The term “chalkboard” was used interchangeably with “blackboard” in the United Kingdom in the early nineteenth century, but by the twentieth century had become primarily restricted to North American English.

The blackboard was introduced into the US education system from Europe in 1801. This occurred at West Point, where George Baron, an English mathematician, used chalk and blackboard in a lecture on September 21. James Pillans has been credited with the invention of coloured chalk (1814): he had a recipe with ground chalk, dyes and porridge.

Characteristics of a good white board

The following are some of the major characteristics of a good white board:

  1. It should be within reach of students or depending upon the different height measurement of learners.
  2. It should be easily erased and cleaned
  3. It should not be dazzling
  4. It should not be rough or scratchy but not too slimy
  5. It should be flat on the wall
  6. It should be located in a position when reflections of the sun rays do not disturb it.

Uses of white board

Some of the major uses of white board include:

  1. To demonstrate and explain facts and processes, often with the help of the drawing and sketches, maps and others.
  2. To present important facts, theories and principles such as new words, terms, rules, definitions and classifications.
  3. To provide a good medium for students’ demonstration
  4. To display a broad variety of materials ranging from the motivational, developmental to evaluative activities and processes
  5. To develop maximum student’s participation
  6. To provide focus for subsequent participant activity and discussion.

Advantages of white board as visual material

The white board is known for some advantages which include:

  1. Mistakes can be erased and corrected right away.
  2. Illustrations can be demonstrated and explained easily and properly.
  3. Teacher’s demonstration on information can be paced to suit the level of the pupils
  4. Maximum student’s participation is assured as students go to the board.
  5. Principles of correct spelling and various processes can be shown.
  6. It is always accessible as it is a permanent classroom fixture.

Disadvantages of white board

The scratching of fingernails on a white board, as well as other pointed, especially metal objects against white boards produces a sound that is well known for being extremely irritating to most people. Many are averse also to merely the sight or thought of this sort of contact.

Suggestions in using the white board

The following are some important suggestions in using a white board:

  1. Keep the white board clean and tidy.
  2. Make the letters, drawings and illustrations large enough to be seen even the farthest student.
  3. Do not cover the materials on the board by standing directly in front of it. The teacher must position himself at the side such that most of the students can see the material.
  4. Always write or prepare materials ahead of teaching time. Board work must be written before the actual teaching but take care not to overexpose it so that it does not lose is novelty. Teachers should use curtain to cover their board works.
  5. It is best to line the white board especially in the elementary grades so that pupils will learn to write legibly
  6. Practice learners in writing legible handwriting even in the white board as early as their younger years.
  7. Avoid overcrowding materials to be displayed on the board at one time unless your purpose requires so. If possible, the instructional materials must be posted one at a time or if they are to be presented, see to it that they should not be exposed yet.
  8. Use colorful temporary markers. A single colour soon becomes monotonous. Separate colours can help different points to stand out from a list. Colour can be used to prioritize and to show what’s really important.
  9. Don’t erase too soon. Participants can feel manipulated if you remove information from their view before they have had the chance to note it down themselves, or at least complete their thinking about it.
  10. Write from left to write. It is advisable that when writing on the board starts if from left to write to avoid confusion of facts and students are in order of information.


Joseph, S. (2005). The History of Britain Companion. London: Anova Books.

Owens, J. (1998) Composers at Work: The Craft of Musical Composition, 1450-1600. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Stephen, E. (1999). Duty, Honor, Country: A History of West Point. California JHU Press.

WebMD (2012). “Reading, Writing, and Wheezing? Not Necessarily”. Asthma Health Centre. New York: WebMD.

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