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How an AI-Powered Lion Transformed Teaching: The Story of Reggie and Generative Artificial Intelligence

Reggie the Lion, the mascot of King’s College London (KCL), has become a teaching tool thanks to the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI). Andrés Gvirtz, an assistant professor of marketing technology and innovation at KCL, decided to use AI to create illustrations for his lecture materials, rather than relying on generic stock images. He used text-to-image models that take natural language as input and produce images as output to bring Reggie to life in tailor-made illustrations.

Gvirtz believes that there is still uncertainty and apprehension about AI in higher education, particularly among teachers. However, he found that using generative AI to create personalized teaching materials sparked enthusiasm and attention among his students. By visualizing abstract concepts through AI-generated art, Gvirtz bridged the gap between individual students’ experiences and the university’s history. The use of AI in this way also sparked students’ interest in the technology, with many embracing and exploring it further themselves.

Gvirtz plans to continue using Reggie the Lion in his teaching materials and hopes to co-create with his students to further strengthen his lectures. He argues that optimizing visuals and making them more personal and relatable is a compelling use case for generative AI in education.

Gvirtz experimented with different AI tools, including DALL-E, Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney text-to-image models. While these models can create photorealistic images, they struggle with generating images that were not included in their training data. Gvirtz found the most success with an approach that mimicked the computer-animation style of Pixar.

Overall, Gvirtz’s use of AI-powered illustrations has enhanced his teaching materials and engaged his students. It offers a creative and personalized way to present information, making it more relatable and memorable for students.