The Power of Chalkless (In Dutch: De kracht van krijtloos)

Posted by @natasabrouwer on April 16, 2022, 2:19 p.m. Contact: @natasabrouwer


Motivation for this project

The chalk and board is often used in science education because the slides can go too quickly when models and theories need to be explained and slowly constructed. Lecturers use special techniques how to use a chalk board to keep the important information all the time available on the board for students while the rest of the information is being cleaned up. In 2008 an article was published in the Dutch newspaper NRC The power of chalk which argued about the importance of using chalk and board for discussion and development of theory in natural sciences such as mathematics, physics and chemistry.

There are however strong drawbacks in using chalk and board in education.

  • While writing on the board the lecturer stands with his or her back to the students and cannot move away from the board
  • The parts of the text or drawings on the board are not physically connected.
  • There are more and more students who appreciate to watch video lectures due to overlap of different lectures like honors students. However good videos of the lectures with chalk and board are difficult to make especially with the technique which is used for the weblectures.
  • Chalk produces dust. There are lecturers who may be allergic to it.


This project brings together the possibility to explain or to develop a concept by writing or drawing while the board and chalk are replaced by a digital drawing tablet. 10 lecturers will work in this project and use this technique. The lectures will be screen-recorded on the video by the lecturers to be shared with students (figure).


Figure: Screen capture of the lecture by Jean-Sébastien Caux (Theoretical Physics) for which a drawing tablet is used

The blog by the project leader Marcel Vreeswijk on the UvA Grassroots blog page about the experiences of this project in the classroom. Link to blog

Project leaders: Dr. Marcel Vreeswijk

Start project: 15-09-2014

End project: 15-09-2015

Funding: 8.500 euro, University of Amsterdam, Grassroots programme

Downloads (project plan or extra information): grassrootprogramma-201415_FNWI_DeKrachtVanKrijtloos.pdf

Literature: Margriet van der Heijden (2008), De kracht van krijt, NRC, 16 februari 2008. (laatst bezocht op 22 augustus 2014)

Original author: Natasa Brouwer
Creative Commons Licence Logo Creative Commons 3.0 BY SA applies to all content on Starfish.
Starfish-education support for the publishing on does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors and Starfish-education cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. Starfish-education cannot be held responsible for the content published by authors that is not conform with Creative Commons 3.0 BY SA.

See also