Since I work on a college campus I get to see a variety of different technologies put to use in all sorts of classrooms. Interactive whiteboards, iPads, 3D printers, mobile instructional robots (seriously, it’s kind of weird), but sometimes I forget that it’s the tried-and-true methods that can be the most effective. The other day my coworker asked if I would come with her to a classroom to investigate an issue with the interactive whiteboard, and I was struck to see this chalkboard sitting a few feet away from thousands of dollars of computer technology. But more than that, it looked like it had been used recently for actual classroom instruction. It took me back a little bit, to a simpler time when education wasn’t as flashy or interactive but somehow a little more comfortable or, possibly, homely. I don’t know that things were better with chalkboards, slates, or even stone tablets, but a part of me was glad to see that things like this still remain at least somewhat useful and relevant in our modern hyper-connected classrooms.

I was also thankful that I had brought my D7100 with me, as I had to shoot this at ISO 1600 which would have been the upper limit of my D200 but is relatively clean and noise-free here. I shot at 1/90 to get a clear image, and stopped down to f/3.3 so as to get a relatively wide depth of field. I was super pleased with the lighting in the room, which created sort of a natural vignetting though I did do a bit of burning in Lightroom to amplify it a bit.


  1. This took me back to the days at Pershing Elementary when that cranky old music teacher, Miss Gustafson would come to our class twice a week. I think Miss G. purposely made her chalk screech, especially when she used that thingy that allowed six pieces of chalk to create a music stanza on the board before us. Now, every time I see a chalk board I shudder as if I can hear that horrendous sound of dry chalk screeching on that dry chalkboard. It’s the same with using a pencil. I cannot write with a pencil, because of horrid memories of those pencils I used in grade school!

    • Aaack! Thanks a lot, Tom! Until this very moment I had forgotten all about those awful six-piece chalk holders that Mrs. Hamik at Pershing (for the record: super nice music teacher) used to draw a musical staff on the board. You just made me shudder, and that sound is gonna stick with me for the rest of the day!

      • Ah, my purpose in life is to move people in so many ways. Glad I was able to add sound, visuals and the frequent shudders that will accompany you throughout the day. Screeeeeech!

        I remember Hamik, she also taught at Dawes. Funny story about Miss G. who was the Wicked Witch of the West.

        She told us the story of her young grandson seated in church on Easter morning. The pastor stood up before the congregation wearing one of those black Methodist robes. When he raised his hands in the air, Miss G’s grandson shouted, “Superman!”

  2. I wonder if the technology we have now will last as long as this chalkboard? Fifty years in the future, I wonder if I will come across an iPad (which is still somehow charged, still able to connect to a network somewhere, and still able to connect to whatever the Internet will be by that time), and instantly remember “the good ol’ days” of 2014…?

    Great photo, as always, Mr. Simon.

    • I wonder the same thing, Jerimy. My iPad lasts a few days on a charge, and my phone gets one day if I’m lucky. But pencils, paper, chalkboards…these things don’t need to be plugged in and are useful far into the future. What kind of legacy are we leaving for future generations if everything we use for creation and education lasts only as long as their batteries hold a charge?

Speak Your Mind