Parents have also expressed concern that the bill would lead to children spending their formative years in front of a computer screen rather than interacting with their peers or would put a device between a pupil and teacher.
Alisa Ellis, a mother and education advocate, said she does not believe that the use of technology is best for the learning styles of every student. She worries about school districts making the decision to place learning devices in the hands of students without the input or approval of parents.
"As the program moves forward and a district is taking grant money, it limits the voice of the parent because of the grant parameters," Ellis said.
Gibson said technology is simply a reality in the lives of most children, who are currently asked to leave their devices behind and "drive an old car" in the classroom. He also emphasized that his bill is not intended to supplant the role of an educator but instead will empower new methods of interaction and information delivery.
"A computer cannot put an arm around a child and let (him or her) know that things are going to be fine, that they’re going to learn this concept, that they’re going to succeed," Gibson said.
Despite the uncertainty on the bill's fiscal impact, members of the House Education Committee expressed that the bill was worthy of floor debate in the House and further consideration.
"We are no longer a U.S. society, we are a global society," Rep. Rich Cunningham, R-South Jordan, said. "I do not want to have our children not have the access and be left behind with what’s happening in other countries."
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