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California school keeping its old fashioned chalkboards

Golden Valley Charter School in Orangevale may be the last school in greater Sacramento to use a tool that has largely vanished from America's schools: the chalkboard.

Most schools dumped chalkboards in the late 1980s in exchange for fancy new white boards that came with colored markers. Now, those white boards are being replaced by interactive boards with touchable, computerized screens.

And so it goes, as technology produces new versions of an educational staple. Boards, plus teachers plus pupils, seem to be the ingredients of instruction around the world.

With a board, a teacher can efficiently show an entire class how to make the perfect curlicue at the bottom of a capital Y. Or students can demonstrate how to solve a math problem: 4 x 4 = 16.

Whether that board needs to be black, white or interactive is up for debate. Some educators maintain good teaching is good teaching, whether they use chalk or a modern digital board.

"The process of teaching has not changed much over the centuries," said Ryan Sutton, who teaches seventh grade at Golden Valley School, a public charter campus. "It's a process of communicating. Your board is just a tool for it."

In seven years of teaching, this is the first year Sutton has used a chalkboard. He really likes it. At his last school, Smythe Academy in Twin Rivers Unified, there was a real focus on technology, he said.

"There were computers in every classroom, LCD projectors – and they were hoping to get interactive white boards in," Sutton said. "Here, rather than dealing with setting up my laptop and my LCD projector, I go right to my lesson on the chalkboard."

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