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Finns made tablet that can block the internet when needed

Staff writer |
A Finnish company has developed an educational tablet that can block the Internet when needed and thus makes dishonesty in tests difficult, Finnish media reported.

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The tablet created by Mobie, an education technology company in Kuopio, east central Finland, has two operating systems, Ubuntu and the Microsoft Windows. For the classroom conditions, the teacher can use Ubuntu and set up a local network which is outside the Internet. This will give protection against hacking, for example, but will make the use of Internet sources impossible as well. For accessing the Internet, the pupils will use Windows.

The company has ordered an initial production series from a Chinese manufacturer, and the first 230 tablets will reach users in Finland this winter.

Kari Vatanen, CEO of Mobie, told Finnish national broadcaster Yle that the Chinese manufacturer will also start producing the Mobie designed product as their own merchandise shortly. It will be the first Ubuntu Linux tablet on the Chinese market, Vatanen said.

Vatanen believed the Finnish-designed learning environment provided by the tablet is a selling point. Vatanen noted that the Finnish product based on Linux also meets the administrative criteria in China.

Currently, the unit for teacher use would cost 1,200 euros (about 1,344 U.S. dollars) and the pupil's version between 500 euros and 700 euros.

Headmaster of the Kuopio Classical School Jukka Sormunen said the use of the tablets will save money through adoption of digital books. The cost of a printed book and its accompanying material is around 30 and 40 euros in Finland, whereas a digital book has the pricetag of 12 euros.

Future versions of the tablet could be able to incorporate the books. The cost of the tablet is offset with the purchase of some tens of books, he noted.

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