Zoom’s latest feature will keep you focused during virtual classrooms

Virtual classrooms

Teachers are accustomed to this scenario all too well; you ask your class a question only to hear crickets.  

Awkward silence follows, as pressure on students to answer begins to build up. They start looking at the ceiling, flipping through their notebooks, in an attempt to dodge answering the question. 

The question seems simple to you, but your student’s lack of focus is evident. 

Getting your students to focus during a school lecture is difficult, but getting them to focus during virtual classrooms is a whole different battle. 

Luckily, Zoom has announced a new feature called “Focus mode,” which aims to limit student distraction during virtual classrooms. The feature allows teachers to keep an eye on every student, while students won’t have the ability to see each other’s videos or screen shares.  

The latest feature boasts certain flexibilities, as teachers can decide when they want participants to be visible to others during the online classes. 

Hence, if you’re giving a lecture about a certain topic and it’s time to ask your class a question to ignite a discussion, you can easily choose to turn off Focus Mode during your class. 

When Focus Mode is enabled, students will still have the ability to view themselves, other student’s names, as well as send emojis to their peers. They’ll also get to hear other students when unmuted. However, they won’t be distracted by looking at their peer’s videos. 

Credit: Zoom

This feature comes at a time when a new school year is edging closer, while certain countries remain under the COVID-19 threat. Thus, virtual classes are sticking around for longer than we anticipated, which will give students and teachers plenty of time to test Zoom’s feature.  

The newest Zoom addition doesn’t only apply to educators, as it can also be used outside of a learning environment. For example, company presentations can now guarantee their employee’s unhinged focus through enabling Focus Mode.  

Best part about the newest feature? It seems to be completely free of charge, based on the testing of Mitchell Clark, The Verge journalist.  

Whether you utilize a Windows desktop or a Mac, you’ll need to have Zoom’s 5.7.3 version to enable Focus Mode. In other words, you won’t be able to utilize the feature if you’re hosting a meeting on your mobile device or using an older Zoom version.  

Yet, participants with older Zoom versions will still be affected by Focus Mode and will not be able to see others in the meeting if they are not visible by the host. 

As technology continues to develop rapidly, the e-learning industry is leveraging the latest tools to transform the way we teach and learn. With massive potential for growth still ahead, teachers may even stick with online learning even after schools reopen.