According to one version of events, a Korean War veteran, Martin Heit, discovered while working with photographic film that he could write on the negatives with Sharpie pens. Heit went on to invent the first whiteboard in the mid-1950s using the same laminate material used in film negatives. After his first whiteboard was lost in a fire prior to being released to the public, he sold the invention to the Dry-Mark company, which began marketing whiteboards to public schools in the 1960s. An alternate history on whiteboards credits the discovery to an American steel producer, Albert Stallion, also around the mid-1950s to early ’60s. Either way, the Dry-Mark company is credited with first introducing the whiteboards for use in educational systems, and they replaced chalkboards in many classrooms throughout the world.The problem with early whiteboards was that they were hard to clean, and information often left a slight mark on the surface even once it was wiped away. Later design and material options replaced the film-type laminate with a magnetic or porcelain surface, with a porcelain whiteboard considered the best option for durability and cleaning. Even after the technological advances of the last few decades, dry erase whiteboards remain a proven and popular choice in classroom teaching. Large wall-mounted whiteboards are used to display and share information in front of the entire class, while individual whiteboards can be used in place of paper to quickly copy information or notes as students follow along.
For more information about the history of whiteboards and their use in education, check out the links below.
- Whiteboards Stimulate Student Learning
- Using Dry Erase WhiteBoards in the Classroom (video)
- What is a Whiteboard?
- Whiteboard Lesson Resources
- Whiteboard Use in Teaching (PDF)
- Timeline of Chalkboards and Whiteboards
- 8 Great Ways to Use White Boards in the Classroom!