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Presence, social presence and heterotopia: the self and the others in a multi-space 966
Doctoral student in the Center for Research on Activity, Development and Learning (CRADLE), Faculty of Behavioural sciences, University of Helsinki, Master degree in Psychology of organization and communication, Helsinki, Finland
The way people percept themselves and the others during collaborative activities is changeable, being shaped also by the technologies used for communication. Some scholars used the concepts of sense of presence and social presence for understanding this issue in activities mediated by technology . Other scholars refer to presence as a «basic state of consciousness: the attribution of sensation to some distal stimulus, or more broadly to some environment» [15, p. 159], both real and virtual. A problematic issue in this debate consists in understanding how presence is felt within situations in which real and virtual worlds are present at the same time and participants deal with a multi-space – an heterotopia  – that enables many forms of interaction and communication. A possible way to analyze it is to use the concept of activity  and the activity system as unit of analysis .
The aim of the present work is to reflect on this problem using some empirical data from a collaborative activity in which teachers from different schools work together face to face, in the school laboratory, using the educational software CoFFEE. Six sessions during which 10 teachers prepared a pedagogical scenario to be implemented in school have been filmed and qualitatively analysed. Some representative excerpts are analyzed in order to clarify some aspects related to sense of presence and social presence.
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