3D World is an online neighborhood designed for high school students in District 75 to practice social, communication, employment, and life skills. Students engage in lessons focused on independent travel, banking and financial decision-making, interviewing for a job, setting-up one’s first apartment, and hosting and attending a networking event.

Avatars Working in the 3D World Pet Shop

Each student and educator is represented in 3D World by an avatar, a customizable, realistic-looking character that travels throughout the neighborhood and interacts with other avatars, using both voice and text. Avatars interact with objects as well, some of which have animations and special effects. For example, avatars can rent bicycles to ride around town and clock-in to their job sites before work.

Teachers and staff play various roles in the community to facilitate social interactions, such as store clerks, bankers and waiters. After initial orientation lessons, students complete targeted learning activities within the environment to hone their skills. Each week’s lesson provides an opportunity to practice appropriate communication and socialization.

3D World is hosted in a private region of Second Life™ online virtual world, ensuring that students are in a safe and supervised environment. The 3D World program is a full-year curriculum that culminates in a real-world gathering of all student avatars in the spring.