In the AEC industry, globally distributed teams are becoming more common, BIM adoption is increasing, and effective time management is essential for remaining competitive. Therefore, understanding how to maximize BIM for construction coordination using collaborative technologies becomes crucial. Observations from a 2012 industry case study with a five-member distributed team led this research team to hypothesize that importing a 3D model into a 3D virtual world would improve team collaboration with models because using cues in the 3D environment (including avatar position) affords more efficient communication and having independent viewpoints allows a greater number of coordination issues to be discovered. This paper reports on a collaborative experiment with four different universities in 2013, in which we observed six geographically distributed nine-member teams as they conducted work using two different communication technologies: A commercial collaboration platform in which team members view models via desktop sharing, and a 3D virtual world in which the students were able to "walk through" the building model. We found that the teams using the 3D software were able to communicate ideas more quickly and had significantly more discoveries. By contrast, the teams using desktop sharing software often required a detailed verbal explanation when communicating specific ideas.