The video conferencing platform has launched a new "focus mode" in time for the new school year that it says will help children and students of all ages focus better in online classes carried out over Zoom.
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Zoom focus mode
"With this feature, teachers can supervise their class, but students won’t be distracted by their peers’ video feeds or feel self-conscious about turning on their own camera," Zoom said in a blog post announcing the feature.
Using the new mode, participants can only see their own stream, with only the names of other attendees being visible (although they can see any nonverbal feedback or reactions e.g. emoji reactions) - while the host (or any co-hosts) can view and switch between each participant’s shared screen.
If the host believes that a certain participant’s content needs to be shared with the wider group, they can easily begin sharing the participant’s screen with the other attendees. Hosts can also unmute selected participants, or spotlight a particular attendee, for example when asking a question.
Focus mode isn't necessarily just for students and teachers, and could dovetail nicely with Zoom's Webinar mode, allowing companies to carry out presentations or hold staff meetings with large numbers of workers.
Hosts will need to have admin rights to turn on the new feature, which requires Zoom client 5.7.3 or higher on Windows and Mac to run. Focus mode can be enabled or locked for specific accounts, groups or individuals, and once activated, can be found by clicking the "More" button when in a meeting.
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