Answers to frequently asked questions
Why do we need a new educational typeface now?
With the establishment of the European Union in the 1990’s a new awareness grew for linguistic minorities and migration issues. The educational typefaces of the different countries had, however, been defined before the EU was established and, therefore, they have not all necessary characters to write all European written languages.
Due to the increasing use of digital media in schools and the growing migration in Europe, it has become necessary to deal with this issue, which could not be foreseen at the time when the currently used educational typefaces were introduced.
Why is it not sufficient to use an existing computer font that has all necessary characters, such as “Arial”?
These computer fonts are not educational fonts: They are not suitable as cursives and have legibility and readability problems their own. Their font families lack fonts which are necessary for preparing teaching materials for beginning writers.
Shall this new educational typeface replace all existing educational typefaces?
No, it will serve as a supplement to the existing educational typefaces. It can be used universally, e.g. for teaching children of linguistic minorities.
Is this typeface only useful for school children?
No, the new font is, of course, also useful for grown-ups, e.g. as a helpful tool in spelling projects.
What languages will the typeface cover?
It will cover all written languages in Europe.
What are the problems in teaching children from linguistic minorities when the present educational typefaces are in use?
There is not much teaching material available for children from linguistic minorities and, therefore, most of it has to be prepared individually on the computer. It is, therefore, essential that an useful educational font is made available. This font will also promote the production of educational software for small target groups.
Moreover, an educational typeface for all European languages will prove to be very useful in bilingual education.
Why does the educational typeface issue block the development of educational software?
If educational software is developed for small target groups, e.g. for children with special needs, it must be made available for more than one language to make production reasonable. This implies that the software must be adapted to the specific needs of these countries.
The anachronistic diversity of educational typefaces makes it even impossible to develop a product without adjustments for the German speaking market, because Germany and Austria alone have nine different educational typefaces. Many products cannot be developed at all, because expenses for licences and legalities are disproportionately high.
If computer fonts are of poor quality and licence fees are too high, why do software companies not develop their own fonts for educational typefaces?
Bigger companies could perhaps do that – leaving aside copyright questions in the specific countries. For small businesses, font development is too expensive. Also, if every company developed its own educational fonts, the font folder of the user would become overcrowded with similar fonts and font management would become even more confusing.
Do all children and teachers have to learn all the characters of the new educational typeface?
No, the new educational typeface will make it possible to read and write in languages for which the existing educational typeface has no characters. It does not make sense to learn all characters.