VWBPE 2023: Uncommon Realities

March 23-25, 2023

VWBPE Announces 2023 Thinkerer

Mar 25, 2023 | VWBPE News

In 2014, the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Organizational Committee instituted a new personal achievement award to recognize an individual who has provided outstanding service to both the field of education and the virtual world community at large.

Past recipients include Doris Molero /Pionia Destiny, Lynne Berrett /Wisdomseeker, Renne Emiko Brock / Zinnia Zauber, Barbara Truman/Delightful Doowangle, Valerie Hill/Valibrarian, Cynthia Calogne / Lyr Lobo, Andrew Wheelock / Spiff Whitfield, Alice Kreuger / Gentle Heron, and of course the award namesake, Selby Evans – our Thinkerer.

Many were all around the conference over the past 3 days — still generously sharing and supporting us. We hope you were able to attend the Above the Book, Catching up with the Thinkerers with Spiff and Valibrarian earlier today. It’s inspiring how our Thinkerers continue to make such a difference. They are all true collaborators and leaders. Please give them a round of applause.

The Thinkerer Award is presented to an individual whose deeds and actions have shown consistent selfless service towards the promotion of learning, community, educational practices, and who exemplifies the spirit of cooperative development within immersive environments.

The recipients of this lifetime achievement award are not simply outstanding professionals in their field, they characterize transformational leadership qualities which:

  • envision and guide change;
  • enhance the motivation, morale, and performance of others;
  • promote best practices and continuous improvement; and
  • inspire through their words and actions.

One such individual, Sheila Webber, known across the metaverse as Sheila Yoshikawa, is our 2023 Thinkerer Award recipient.

About Sheila Webber / Sheila Yoshikawa

Sheila was immediately entranced by Second Life when she first entered on May 3, 2007.

Just one month later she started the Information Literacy SL group and had her first inworld meeting.

One month after that, she launched the Virtual Center for Information Literacy Research on Eduserv Island. Shortly after, she received a grant for an Island, as part of a large-scale inquiry Based Learning project.

Infolit iSchool, which is the home to Sheffield University’s Information School in the UK, was delivered that October. She was teaching freshman students Information Management, as well as Educational Informatics for Masters students within a couple of weeks.

Just five months after joining SL.

SheilaWebber-SheilaYoshikawa 2023

As most of you know, Sheila is the leader of the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable, which meets every Thursday at 12-noon SLT. It has been meeting weekly for fifteen years!

For the past 25 years, Sheila’s research and teaching focus has been information literacy and information behavior. She has written and presented in many venues, as well as supervised Ph.D. and Masters students.

Sheila’s Information Literacy blog has had over 5000 posts, with 3 million page hits since 2005.

She is the recipient of the UK e-information Group Jason Farradane Award for services to Information Science and has an Honorary Fellowship from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, which is the UK’s association for the library & information field.

Sheila has been a member of many professional and research groups, and currently is a member of the Forum on Information Literacy (FOIL), a collaboration of UK-based researchers, as well as an international collaboration: Information Literacy is a Discipline (ILIAD).

This collaboration was inspired by the work Shelia and her colleague Bill Johnston did to develop Information Literacy as a disciplinary field.

Sheila has many accomplishments, including being invited into the Educators CoOp, which was led by Bluewave Ogee and North Lamar. This article states that it was a Model for Collaboration.

She co-supervised Dr. Ridvan Ata’s Ph.D. which included a case study of her inworld class, where he served as an assistant.

She has regular information literacy events, discussions, and exhibits at Infolit iSchool, including celebrations of Information Literacy Week and running an information literacy journal club.

Sheila’s Second Life educational work was acknowledged in her citation for the University of Sheffield Senate Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching in 2017, which is the highest teaching honor in the university.

She has developed material on play in virtual worlds, for the University of Sheffield FutureLearn MOOC “Exploring Play” which has run numerous times.

She enjoys giving talks about different aspects of virtual worlds including pedagogy, information behavior, identity, research methods, to librarians and researchers at international conferences. Where the highlight, up to now, has been invited to do a talk in Prague.

And she has so enjoyed working with colleagues from different sectors, backgrounds, and countries in many organizations such as VWER, VWEC, where she is a founding board member, and VWBPE.

It is for all these reasons, and more, that the VWBPE Organizational Committee proudly confirms Sheila Webber, Sheila Yoshikawa as the VWBPE 2023 Thinkerer Award recipient.

Past VWBPE Thinkerer Award Winners

Doris Molero - Pionia Destiny

Doris Molero
(SL: Pionia Destiny)

Thinkerer Melville/Selby Evans, 2014

Lynne Berrett
(SL: Wisdomseeker)

Thinkerer Melville/Selby Evans, 2014

Selby Evans
(SL: Thinkerer Melville)


Renne Emiko Brock / Zinnia Zauber

Renne Emiko Brock
(SL: Zinnia Zauber)

Gentle Heron/Alice Krueger, 2015

Alice Krueger
(SL: Gentle Heron)


Barbara Truman
(SL: Delightful Doowangle)

Spiff Whitfield/Andrew Wheelock, 2016

Andrew Wheelock
(SL: Spiff Whitfield)


Valerie Hill
(SL: VALibrarian Gregg)

Thinkerer Award Recipient, 2017

Cynthia Calongne
(SL: Lyr Lobo)