EBB CVR is
short for Elizabeth Barrett Browning Cinematic Virtual Reality which has the potential to revolutionize the way students and teachers interact with literature - more, it has the potential to enhance our ability to empathize with others, to see from another's view, to, in the words of Maxine Greene (one of my idols), become wide-awake or, in the words of one of my other idols, Emily Dickinson, EBB CVR has the potential to allow us to dwell in possiblities.
So, what is it?
At present, it's an idea that has a team of brilliant people working to make it a reality. It will be a 6-7 minute short immersive CVR experience that invites the viewer to participate in a celebration of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's life. It will be filmed in the Armstrong-Browning Library (ABL) under the direction of Gabe Lipton.
Why do it?
Short answer: because the potential immersive VR holds for students' comprehension of and connection to literature is too great to ignore.
Long answer: because the humanities need a booster shot in today's technologically driven world - because digital natives (those born immersed in internet culture) learn differently than those of us who bridge the gap - and because, since no one else is and we have the resources to do this, we are morally obligated to do so.
Personal answer: because the first time I set foot in Emily Dickinson's bedroom, I knew my view of her was right. I had read all of her letters, had studied intently three of her fascicles, read academics who wrote on her, but it wasn't until I set foot in her bedroom, looked out her windows, and sat on her front porch that I knew her - that I truly understood her and her work. They are tied to some extent, artist and the art. And in knowing one we better learn the other. The first time I learned of CVR its possibilities for fostering a similar connection between my students and the work we studied was all I could think of - the possibilities of blending the technology with literature to better help high school students discover their connection to the universal themes in the work and, through that connection, to themselves and each other.
What does it take to do it?
A lot. In this case, because we're working in a room dedicated to Elizabeth Barrett Browning but not lived in by her, it's taking a script, a team of dedicated production professionals, an army of behind-the-scenes guides, and a little bit of funding. We have the first three, but are in search of the last one so if you, too, like our idea, check out the link in the footer and check our weekly blog for production progress. We look forward to sharing our journey with you.
-in peace & possibility - amg