They are compliments. Consider the digital 3-D cadaver system being used by NYU Medical:

In the N.Y.U. lab, Chana Rich, a 21-year-old first-year student from Fairfield, Conn., dissected an older, female cadaver. But the dead woman had undergone a number of surgeries during her lifetime, and her body was now missing its appendix, spleen and right lung.

“She’s skinny and female,” Ms. Rich said, “so sometimes it’s hard to visualize the smaller vessels.”

A few minutes later, Ms. Rich was in the projection room, isolating the liver of the virtual cadaver and examining the blood vessels connected to it.

“In a cadaver, if you remove an organ, you cannot add it back in as if it were never removed,” she said as she adjusted her 3-D glasses. “Plus, this is way more fun than a textbook.”

But her colleague, Susanna Jeurling, a first-year medical student from Washington, disagreed. Dissecting a real cadaver, she said, gives students a unique, tactile understanding of the body.

“I don’t think this will ever replace cadavers,” said Ms. Jeurling, 24. “There’s something about being able to hold it and turn it in your hand.”

It isn’t either/or – both Rich and Jeurling are right about the benefits of their preferred way of learning. Combining resources instead of presuming one replaces the other is a far better way to think about new tech.