REM5 Virtual Reality Laboratory, 4950 W. 35th St., St. Louis Park, has been increasing its efforts to introduce students to virtual reality as an educational tool.

The business has worked with hundreds of local teachers and more than 1,000 students to integrate virtual reality experiences into the classroom.

Programs allow students to tour the White House, use a public speaking simulator or virtually dissect a frog. In addition to the classroom work, the laboratory has several youth-focused educational programs:

• The innovation lab is a free monthly program to expose youth ages 7-15 to different types of virtual reality technology and expand their vision for virtual reality outside of entertainment and gaming.

• The robotics league is a four-week program during which students ages 8-13 build robots to test teamwork and problem-solving skills in a virtual environment.

• Camp REM5 is a one-week summer program giving students ages 8-13 exposure to a range of past, present and future virtual reality technology.

• Autism-focused programming is designed to create a safe learning environment for children with autism spectrum disorder or related learning differences.

• The business is working with Benilde-St. Margaret’s to develop an internship program for two students this summer, one focused on operations and one focused on marketing.

“At its simplest level, it’s like bringing a child to a computer lab in the 1970s,” said co-founder and education lead Travis Hoium. “Just the exposure to this technology has the potential to change the way students learn and interact – and it’s a fun and valuable exercise for students.”

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