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Exploring special education teacher students' perspectives on the use of ChatGPT: opportunities and challenges
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4418-7930
2024 (English)In: NERA 2024: Abstract Book, 2024, p. 698-698Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Research topic/aim: In the realm of special education, the advancement of technology has opened up new possibilities to provide suitable education for all students. Lately, one such technology that has gained significant attention is ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence large language model developed by OpenAI. ChatGPT offers a unique opportunity to facilitate communication, provide personalized assistance, and engage students in interactive learning experiences. However, it is crucial to understand how special education teacher students perceive the use of ChatGPT in their coming profession, as their insights are invaluable in shaping effective and inclusive educational practices. 

Theoretical framework: This study delves into the perceptions and experiences of special education teacher students regarding the integration of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) large language model, into special education, all through the lens of the Visioning theoretical framework. This approach, which involves envisioning a desirable future and working backward to identify steps for its realization, is especially relevant when considering the transformative potential of technologies like ChatGPT in educational environments and the future of special education. 

Methodological design: Through a qualitative analysis of survey data from 79 first-year special education teacher students, the study utilized Visioning to probe not only current perceptions but also future aspirations and apprehensions concerning the application of ChatGPT in special education. The research sought to reveal participants' opinions on the opportunities and challenges presented by ChatGPT in special education, with an emphasis on its ability to enhance personalized learning, accommodate diverse educational needs, and address ethical considerations in educational practices. 

Expected conclusions/findings: Initial findings indicate a nuanced perspective among participants. While recognizing ChatGPT's potential in special education through customized individual learning experiences and increased student engagement, participants also expressed concerns. These concerns primarily revolved around the technology's accuracy, ethical implications, and the competencies required for educators to implement this tool effectively in special education contexts. For instance, a vast majority of the special education teacher students indicated that they are not particularly familiar with, nor have they used, ChatGPT themselves. Consequently, they feel unprepared to integrate ChatGPT into their teaching or to support their students who use the application. This research provides insights into how the use of AI-based tools could shape the future of special education practices and contributes to the discourse on the ethical integration of AI in educational settings, highlighting the complexities involved in adopting emerging technologies in special education environments. 

Relevance to Nordic educational research: From a Nordic perspective, the countries place strong emphasis on equality and inclusivity in education. Understanding how AI tools like ChatGPT can be tailored to support students with diverse learning needs aligns with the region's commitment to providing high-quality education for all. The study stresses the necessity for future teachers to be proficient in digital tools. Within the Nordic context, this indicates a need for teacher education, and and perhaps more specifically, special teacher education programs to incorporate comprehensive training in technologies, such as AI, ensuring educators are prepared to meet the diverse needs of their students. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2024. p. 698-698
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-222385OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-222385DiVA, id: diva2:1844778
Conference
NERA 2024, 53st Congress; "Adventures of Education: Desires, Encounters and Differences", Malmö, Sweden, March 6-8, 2024
Available from: 2024-03-14 Created: 2024-03-14 Last updated: 2024-03-15Bibliographically approved

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Wickman, KimMårell-Olsson, Eva

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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  • ieee
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