Whiteboard it Out

The Whiteboard

The whiteboard (marker board) and even the blackboard (chalk board) are usually wall-mounted boards for non-permanent, easily erasable expression of thought for multiple users at the same time. Whiteboards are analogous to blackboards, but with a smoother surface and they can be electronic.


Patient whiteboards have been used in hospitals for years as a tool to bridge the communication between patients (including their families) and medical practitioners. They are commonly placed on a wall in a designated room (often called a sensory room) where patients can calm themselves by writing down their feelings or overwhelming emotions – and erase them afterwards, or not.

Patient whiteboards can be the standard glossy white board, glass, blackboard, electronic-interactive, wall-mounted, mobile, table-top, mini hand-held, or back-of-the-locker – almost any method for individual or multi-user expressions of thought.

The Whiteboard Psychology website says that mapping out users’ thoughts and feelings on the whiteboard helps to visually understand what is happening internally. It makes people feel ‘less alone’ in their mental struggles.

The MiEN Company says a Department of Education Leadership, Management and Policy study at Seton Hall University in 2019 with teachers found that using whiteboards significantly increased learner engagement. Whiteboards enable students to showcase their thinking, share ideas, brainstorm with each other, and erase their outputs as they wish – allowing them to experiment and write rapid thoughts without intimidation.

The study showed the following benefits of whiteboards:

  1. Increased user engagement – by standing at the whiteboard users engage their brains and bodies which increases alertness, visual cues, motor skills, and social-emotional skills
  2. Differentiated learning zones – active learning, memory, and cognition were enhanced by changing the location of the ‘zone of learning’ and, in some cases, separating learning spaces by having mobile whiteboards act as temporary walls
  3. Improved fine motor skills – by using large movements on the whiteboard, users improved their dexterity, posture, and eye-body coordination.

It is effective because users can combine colours, illustrations, pictures, symbols, spaces, lists, tree-branch representations, and all kinds of ways to engage the mind, the eye, and the body.

Interactive whiteboards in workplaces also showed increased engagement of users, increased communication, and greater opportunities to edit ideas collaboratively, making employers feel more productive and less stressed. Users felt that other users were speaking with them, not at them, making them feel that they were heard and understood. Users also showed greater retention of the information being shared and discussed.


White-boarding can be done by anyone at any age – with erasable whiteboard markers (black and coloured markers) and a whiteboard eraser. Users can take photographs of the visuals – or, for electronic and interactive whiteboards, the page-board can produce a paper copy.


Flip-charts and butcher’s paper can be substituted for whiteboards – they are disposable but not erasable while working on them. They also enable multiple users to share brainstorming ideas.

Mind Mapping is another term for white-boarding. Mind mapping is a visual way of organising your mind, on a whiteboard, before putting fingers to the keyboard or pen to paper or speech to presentation. It’s a brainstorming session on the whiteboard – individually or in a group. Cool Rules [for writers] says that this technique ‘works the way your brain works’ – by capturing parts of sentences and not interrupting the flow of ideas. The whiteboard, according to Ken Boothe, is ‘a note taking tool that organises words, thoughts, ideas, tasks, activities, and more in the form of a diagram.’ A 2005 study by the University of Texas found that 80% of students agreed that mind mapping helped them understand science concepts better.


Private thoughts and ideas should be erased before other people see them!


White-boarding your thoughts does not necessarily address core issues.


“Give me a blackboard. I can stop anything on a blackboard.” – Lou Holtz

“Life is this great big blackboard, and on it you write all the things that you do.” – Elizabeth Edwards

“It is still an unending source of surprise for me how a few scribbles on a blackboard or on a piece of paper can change the course of human affairs.” – Stanislaw Ulam

“Music is the chalk to the blackboard of life. Without it, everything is a blank slate.” – Ray Charles


DISCLAIMER: This website’s author does not dispense medical advice or prescribe the use of any technique as a form of treatment for physical, emotional, or medical problems without the advice of a physician or psychologist, either directly or indirectly. Therefore, information provided here is not intended to replace readers’ existing or other medical, psychological, financial, or legal advice. The author’s intent is to offer general information to help readers in their quest for emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing, guidance towards self-empowerment, and/or for entertainment purposes only. Rainy Day Healing and Martina Nicolls shall not be held accountable for any loss which may arise from any readers’ reliance and implementation of any information provided. For information on courses and personal consultations, see TERMS AND CONDITIONS.


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