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Call for papers for DEME Special Issue

Wednesday, 27 September 2023

Call for papers for DEME

Special Issue Mathematics education in the era of ChatGPT: investigating its meaning and use for school and university education

Inviting editors:

Birgit Pepin (

Nils Buchholtz (

Ulises Salinas-HĆ©rnandez (

Dear colleague,

You are invited to submit an extended abstract (max. 1000 words) for a paper you propose to write for this special issue of Digital Experiences in Mathematics Education (DEME). This call includes a description of the thematic scope of the special issue and a timeline for the processing of paper submissions. Please, let us know whether you wish to participate in this project and feel free to ask us any additional questions. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 30th November, 2023. The extended abstracts should be submitted by email to Birgit Pepin ( Please also cc Nils B and Ulises SH, as well as your co-authors.

We are looking forward to your contribution!

Birgit, Nils and Ulises

Introduction to the theme of the special issue and its scope

The use of educational technologies that incorporate elements of machine learning is becoming common across the engineering education terrain, and it is beginning to also touch mathematics education. There is a wide adoption of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) based systems. One promising development in this field is the use of generative artificial intelligence technology, such as the ChatGPT conversational agent. Not only is the use of these technologies going to impact teaching and learning, but mathematics education research practices are as likely to be affected as well. In schools and universities, ChatGPT has the potential to offer personalized and effective learning experiences by providing students with customized feedback and explanations, as well as creating realistic virtual simulations for hands-on learning. In the education community, some view it as a tool to enhance learning and reduce teacher workload, whilst others see it as a threat to integrity which opens the door to cheating and plagiarism. Also significant for the subject of mathematics in particular is the challenge with handling erroneous information that ChatGPT can provide. Hence, as there appear to be benefits to using ChatGPT (or generally AI), there are also potential drawbacks that need to be considered, and it is important to investigate the limitations of this technology. This Special Issue features research studies that take a closer look at ChatGPT to develop insights into its meaning and use in school and university education, whether it is helping or hindering mathematics teaching and learning.

What is ChatGPT?

A UNESCO Education 2030 (2023) report tells us that ā€œChatGPT is a language model that allows people to interact with a computer in a more natural and conversational way. GPT stands for ā€œGenerative Pre-trained Transformerā€ and it is the name given to a family of natural language models developed by open Artificial Intelligence (AI). This is also known as a form of generative AI because of its ability to produce original results. ChatGPT uses natural language processing to learn from Internet data, providing users with artificial intelligence-based written answers to questions or prompts.ā€ (p.5, UNESCO Education 2023)

ChatGPT is based on machine learning, which is currently the most popular technique in AI technology. The present models of ChatGPT are trained on large text datasets to learn ā€œto predict the next word in a sentence and, from that, generate coherent and compelling human-like output in response to a question or statementā€ (p. 7, ibid). ChatGPT can be considered as a ā€œcomputer robotā€ with whom you can talk and discuss, thanks to its user-friendly interface. ChatGPT can be asked for data, analysis and even an opinion, although it does not take a definite position, as its interpretation is based on the statistical analysis of billions of texts on the Internet.

In which ways may ChatGPT matter for (mathematics) education research?

It appears that ChatGPT represents a tipping point in the development of AI and it would be unwise to ignore it. It has been claimed that it will be as transformational as Google was in 1998, and that it will indelibly change education in the future. It is often characterized as a very powerful assistive technology, and for producing text, discussing ideas and examining claims, it is transformative. Hence, the (mathematics) education community (including the research community) needs to have a serious conversation and conduct research about the benefits, challenges and implications for schools and universities, or more generally for learners. Mathematics educators and researchers have to start engaging with it in a meaningful way. This is the background rationale for this Special Issue.

In which ways may ChatGPT change teachersā€™ teaching or studentsā€™ learning of mathematics?

ChatGPT can play a range of roles in teaching and learning processes, due to its ability to generate and assess information. Together with other forms of AI, ChatGPT could improve the process and experience of learning mathematics for students. To do this, ChatGPT can be used as a standalone tool, or it can be integrated into other systems and platforms used by education institutions. It is important to stress that ChatGPT can only be an assistive tool (e.g., it can transform the structure and form of text while maintaining and stabilizing meaning), and educators and students need to be aware of its limitations as a source of knowledge.

Regarding simple or technical tasks related to mathematics teaching and learning at school level, ChatGPT can perform many tasks, such as e.g., calculations, or basic research tasks. For example, it can formulate word problems in simple, easier-to-understand language or generate mathematical tasks and problems at different ability levels. It is also able to find and repair errors in program code or generate descriptive explanations for mathematical terms. It has also been used as a tool for homework and revision by students (e.g., in school), checking homework answers, or refining an essay, as the technology can help students present ideas in a clear and organized manner and in the right form, allowing teachers to focus on the ideas themselves. At university level, ChatGPT might potentially be used by teacher students to verify claims, seek detailed information about a particular theme/topic, or challenge information. It can be used as an assistant in lesson planning or for training diagnostic skills.

ChatGPT can be incorporated and used to enrich teaching and learning, as exemplified in the following list of roles (UNESCO Education 2030, 2023):

However, there are also challenges and ethical implications when using ChatGPT, such as those of academic integrity and plagiarism; privacy concerns; and cognitive bias, for example.

Rationale and focus of the Special Issue

The significant amount of research activity in this area recently suggests that a SI around this theme is timely, and an important outlet for sharing scholarly activity from some of this work. The proposed SI aims to gather the latest scholarly contributions in the area, focusing specifically on research and development efforts supported by rigorous empirical studies.

In our Special Issue we call for papers that pertain to issues of mathematics teaching and learning with ChatGPT, both at school and university level.

Issues may involve, for example,

More explicitly, we invite papers that report on research studies that ask the following questions:

Based on the proposed rationale and the aims of the SI, we focus on studies with (i) strong empirical components, (ii) research questions that are clearly related to mathematical or mathematics educational aspects, and (iii) studies that seem to push the field forward in our collective thinking of how to use ChatGPT at school or university level. With this focus, we want to make sure papers present original research.

If your study does not seem to fall into any of the above mentioned ā€˜categoriesā€™, please do not hesitate to contact us. As this is a new and changing field, we are open to your suggestions.


Submission of extended abstracts - November 30th 2023

Communication of Abstract Acceptance - December 20th 2023

Submission of papers - April 30th 2024

First round of reviews is due - July 31rst 2024

Inform authors - August 15th 2024

Submission of 1st revision - September 30th 2024

Second round of reviews (if necessary) is due on - November 30th 2024

Final submission - January 31rst 2025

Copy-editing/proofing and publication - March 31rst 2025


Sullivan, M., Kelly, A. and McLaughlan, P. (2023) ā€˜ChatGPT in higher education: Considerations for academic integrity and student learningā€™, Journal of Applied Learning and Teaching, 6(1). Available at:

UNESCO Education 2030 (2023). CHATGPT and artificial intelligence in higher education.