Zoom announced new features to roll out this week including a Focus Mode. This feature will mostly be useful for students and teachers this coming school year. Details of the said features are explained further.
Online and virtual classes are still one of the best options to continue learning amid the risk of pandemic. Children are at risk going outside, and most especially interacting with other people. Therefore schools and universities require masks indoors and outdoors to make sure that students are safe from the virus. However, some schools still opt for online classes. And as the school year approaches, it is now time to prepare and be ready for it. If before, school bags and notebooks are on the top of the list. Now, internet and video conference platforms are one of the necessities. Zoom announced a new feature today, minimizing distraction, and other back-to-school tips for everyone.
What is Focus Mode?
Zoom announced this new feature in their blog post (initially reported by TheVerge). This Focus Mode will avoid students getting distracted by the videos of their other classmates in a conference call. But still allowing the teacher to monitor each student.
Though highly recommended that students have their own “study nook” which is quiet and conducive to learning. It cannot be avoided that one or two students will have parents walking in the background, or students making faces, and other distractions. This is the common struggle of teachers handling online classes.
But now, once the teacher activates Focus Mode on Zoom, all participants won’t see each other’s videos except the teacher. While the host or teacher still gets to view all student’s webcams. The teacher can find this feature useful for certain situations such as lecture, while class discussions may be more effective if students get to see one another. Therefore, the host can simply turn it off and on as needed.
Also, reports claim that it is available on free accounts and not necessarily needing a subscription. Users should also note that while Focus Mode will highlight the host’s video, participants will still get to see their own videos. Moreover, video or screen shares highlighted by the host will be visible. Even though videos of other participants are hidden, they still get to see their names and emoji reactions.
Companies and corporate calls may also benefit from this Focus Mode, as much as virtual classrooms.
Tips For More Effective Virtual Classroom Setup
Zoom continues to improve and add features on their services for users to maximize its use. Aside from the announcement of Focus Mode through their blog post, the company also provided back-to-school tips for users.
As mentioned earlier, it is a common situation that students have classes then their parents suddenly appear in the background. That is why this Focus Mode is quite useful. Aside from that, it is critical that learners have a dedicated learning space which will motivate them more. And also create a barrier between study and home space.
Parents or adults must also check internet connection stability every now and then. Stronger internet connection will allow better video quality to show during virtual classes which makes it more effective.
Lastly, it is also important to know Zoom’s video & audio settings more. Details such as adjusting for lowlight, suppressing background noise, and others can be seen here.