The video conferencing platform, Zoom, recently announced a new feature titled Focus mode. This feature is meant to keep students from being distracted throughout their virtual classes, yet still allowing their teachers to keep an eye out on everyone. When this mode is activated, only the host of the meeting will be able to see every participant’s webcams, but the participants in that meeting won’t be able to see each other’s screen shares or video streams.
Zoom also introduced a Webinar mode feature a while ago, which provides some of the same controls for users. However, Focus mode is more flexible and simpler for users. For example, during a virtual class, a teacher can turn on focus mode while they are presenting a new lesson and then turn off the feature when it’s time for the class to discuss the subject.
This new feature from Zoom is being introduced before the start of the new school year in many districts, while the threat of the pandemic still remains serious. It seems that virtual classrooms around the country are going to be sticking around, which is why the company has been adding different features in an attempt to improve remote learning.
This feature will be putting a teacher’s video, or their screen share, in the focus for the participants of the meetings, or for students, but that’s not the only thing they will be seeing on their own screens. The participants can still see their own video stream, as well as any other videos or screen shares that the teacher decides to spotlight. Additionally, students will also be able to see any emoji reactions, as well as the names of the other students in the classroom.
This brand new feature seems like a good way to stop students from distracting each other during their remote learning classes, but it can also have plenty of uses outside of a school environment. For example, it can also be used during remote presentations for companies, whenever managers are concerned that an employee isn’t paying attention.
The company’s video conferencing platform skyrocketed in popularity with the onset of the pandemic last year, as numerous organizations, as well as schools, saw it as one of the best potential solutions to the current global situation. However, a number of issues surfaced with that increase in popularity for the platform, ranging from privacy and security issues to people joining meetings unannounced and disrupting them.
Fortunately, the company has been hard at work at trying to solve all of the issues that have arisen from its increase in use around the world, introducing new solutions, security measures, and features, that would improve the user experience.
In this way, Zoom has been able to repair its potentially damaged reputation from those problems and has seemingly done that quite successfully. This approach is something that plenty of other companies can learn from, as it entails social listening, taking customer complaints in good faith, and working hard to provide solutions to those issues.