When Albert Einstein visited Oxford University in 1931, someone with foresight thought to preserve the blackboard he used when he was talking about the theory of relativity. When my colleague, Megan, came across Einstein’s blackboard many decades later, it intrigued her. She felt that the impressions teachers leave on their students couldn’t be captured or quantified, but with modern technology, she knew their seemingly random scribbling and half-drawn pictures or symbols could.
So she set out to capture some of them. Megan feels there’s a moment before the classroom blackboard gets wiped when the echo of the class still hangs tangibly in the air. There’s an expectation that the impressions that teachers leave on students are not as transitory or delicate, as those they leave on the blackboards. And that thought gave birth to the Blackboard Project
So here’s a request to teachers reading this. Before you wipe your next blackboard clean, please take a photo of it and email it to Megan. As she says: ‘We do not have to be Einstein to make a difference in the lives of others’. But through blackboards, she’s hoping it’s possible to capture some glimpses of the energy of ideas of classes, however random they may seem.
Here’s a blackboard picture that Megan snapped at the end of one of my classes. It’s my handwriting and I’m sure I wrote this, though I’m no longer sure why. But I think that’s actually one of the Blackboard Project’s charms. Meanings are closely related to time and context, and deciphering that can be intriguing. Who knows what will emerge if teachers from around the world share their blackboards across time and diverse contexts.
So teachers whip out your cameras and come join in this international project. Take a shot of your blackboard, white board or smart board and send it to Megan at blackboard project 1 @gmail.com (with no spaces).