One of the debates that I have been following is framed as follows:
Do we need to teach aritmetic if computers can perform the same task?
Until today I thought we should teach arithmetic.
Another related question is why we cannot develop computer software that does more than traditional teaching methods.
This article from Atlantic, "A Perfect and Beautiful Machine': What Darwin's Theory of Evolution Reveals About Artificial Intelligence" provides insight on both questions. This quote provides a possible answer:
"What Darwin and Turing had both discovered, in their different ways, was the existence of competence without comprehension. This inverted the deeply plausible assumption that comprehension is in fact the source of all advanced competence. Why, after all, do we insist on sending our children to school, and why do we frown on the old-fashioned methods of rote learning? We expect our children's growing competence to flow from their growing comprehension. The motto of modern education might be: "Comprehend in order to be competent." For us members of H. sapiens, this is almost always the right way to look at, and strive for, competence. I suspect that this much-loved principle of education is one of the primary motivators of skepticism about both evolution and its cousin in Turing's world, artificial intelligence. The very idea that mindless mechanicity can generate human-level -- or divine level! -- competence strikes many as philistine, repugnant, an insult to our minds, and the mind of God."
The distinction between competence and comprehension provides a possible answer to both questions. Competence does not lead to comprehension. We do not need to teach to achieve competence in arithmetic because computers can do it for everybody (with a computer and electricity). Comprehension in math, the higher level objective, is a totally different objective which is not necessarily derived from competence.
This distinction also explains the weakness in current educational software and most online offerings. Rather than using software/content to teach competence, we should focus on developing software to facilitate reasoning and comprehension. Perhaps harder said than done, but if we stop focusing on competence we will be on the right path.
Question: How many numbers between 0 and 10 can be divided by 2
Competence answer: 2,4,6,8,10
Comprehension answer: all the numbers
I found the Atlantic article on Arts & Letters Daily.