Zoom Gains Focus Mode to Help Reduce Distractions in Virtual Classrooms

Zoom has introduced a new feature called Focus Mode that's designed to prevent students from distracting each other during virtual classrooms.

zoom focus mode
When enabled, Focus Mode allows the teacher or lecturer taking the class to see all the students, while each student can only see the teacher.

The setting can be activated at any time by the teleconferencing host, so for example it could be turned on for lecture periods to reduce distractions from students' video feeds and then turned off for group discussion.

Focus Mode is available on the free desktop Zoom client, therefore lending itself to other uses, like business meetings, family gatherings and so on.

zoom focus mode 2
Zoom announced the new feature in a blog post offering other back-to-school tips to get children prepared for virtual or hybrid learning. Version 5.7.5 of Zoom for Mac is available to download from the Zoom website.

Tag: Zoom

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

iPhone SE 4 With Face ID Said to Be Priced Below $500

Monday May 20, 2024 3:43 am PDT by
Apple is targeting a sub-$500 starting price for its upcoming fourth-generation iPhone SE model despite a raft of rumored upgrades coming to the more affordable device. According to leaker Revegnus on X, the U.S. launch price of the fourth-generation iPhone SE will either remain at the same $429 starting price as the current model, or will see an increase of around 10%. Either way, Apple's...
iOS 17

Apple Releases iOS 17.5.1 With Fix for Reappearing Photos Bug

Monday May 20, 2024 10:11 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1, minor updates to the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 operating system updates that came out last September. The 17.5.1 updates come a week after the launch of iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5. iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1 can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's...
iPhone 16 Camera Lozenge 2 Perspective

iPhone 16 Lineup Rumored to Come in These Two New Colors

Sunday May 19, 2024 11:08 am PDT by
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today outlined his expectations for the iPhone 16 lineup's color options, revealing that two new colors should replace two of the existing shades. Kuo outlined his expectations in a post on X (formerly Twitter) earlier today. He believes that the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will be available in black, white or silver, gray or "Natural Titanium," and rose....
microsoft surface pro qualcomm

Microsoft Says New Surface Pro is Faster Than 15" M3 MacBook Air

Monday May 20, 2024 3:19 pm PDT by
Microsoft is going all in on AI, today introducing a series of Copilot+ PCs that have AI-focused hardware. The new Surface Pro is one of the first Copilot+ PCs, equipped with Qualcomm's Arm-based Snapdragon X Elite processor. Microsoft is already pitting the Surface Pro against Apple's M3 MacBook Air, and in marketing materials, claims that the Surface Pro has superior processing power and...
iOS 17

iOS 17.5 Bug May Also Resurface Deleted Photos on Wiped, Sold Devices [Updated]

Friday May 17, 2024 12:24 pm PDT by
A bug in iOS 17.5 is apparently causing photos that have been deleted to reappear, and the issue seems to impact even iPhones and iPads that have been erased and sold off to other people. A Reddit user wiped an iPad following Apple's guidelines in September of 2023 before selling it off to a friend. That friend updated the iPad to iPadOS 17.5 this week, and began seeing the Reddit user's old ...
iphone se 4 modified flag edges

When to Expect the Next iPhone SE to Launch

Friday May 17, 2024 2:03 pm PDT by
It has been over two years since Apple released the third-generation iPhone SE, and rumors continue to surface about a new model. The latest word comes from The Information, which today reported that Apple plans to release a new iPhone SE with a design similar to the standard iPhone 14 in the spring of 2025. If this rumor is accurate, the iPhone SE would finally gain Face ID and a notch...

Top Rated Comments

EmotionalSnow Avatar
36 months ago

I feel that in the very long term these ‘features’ are really about control.
Care to explain your thoughts or are you going to leave us in the dark? Because I have no clue why you would think that.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
idmean Avatar
36 months ago

Focus Mode is available on the free desktop Zoom client, therefore lending itself to other uses, like business meetings, family gatherings and so on
How so? That would be a strange kind of business meeting or family gathering
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mitthrawnuruodo Avatar
36 months ago
I've been teaching a lot over Zoom during a few periods of lockdown, and it has been less than ideal.

However, this seems like a nice way to get the students to actually enable camera (privacy concern and distractions are two main reasons why I normally teach to a bunch of "icons on black background").

That way it would be possible to actually get the "feel of the room", although just fraction of what you can get in a physical classroom.

There are other issues to zoom lectures (not least for practical subjects), but every little bit helps.

Now, I don't trust Zoom anywhere near enough to install the client on my personal Mac, I still consider the app as Malware, but on my company issued work Mac this will be a welcome upgrade.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DaSal Avatar
36 months ago

I've been teaching a lot over Zoom during a few periods of lockdown, and it has been less than ideal.

However, this seems like a nice way to get the students to actually enable camera (privacy concern and distractions are two main reasons why I normally teach to a bunch of "icons on black background").

That way it would be possible to actually get the "feel of the room", although just fraction of what you can get in a physical classroom.

There are other issues to zoom lectures (not least for practical subjects), but every little bit helps.

Now, I don't trust Zoom anywhere near enough to install the client on my personal Mac, I still consider the app as Malware, but on my company issued work Mac this will be a welcome upgrade.
Honestly, as a student, I feel like this is the worst of both worlds from a student perspective. I absolutely hate zoom calls for a number of reasons:

- It’s distracting/hard to focus - primarily because of your OWN preview (you also don’t do other things in front of a mirror)
- Other students can be distracting
- (Most) teachers themselves can be distracting, for instance by being poorly prepared, having technical issues (bad WiFi - stutter, bad microphone or bad camera) or another common one is teachers taking +25% longer than a physical lecture because ‘they can’ which generally results in lectures that either drag and are too slow paced or on the other end of the spectrum, are overfilled and fatiguing

The upsides being:

- seeing your fellow students
- seeing the teacher

With this new feature, it basically remains a ****** experience for students while also removing any social elements.

at this point might as well just stream a live recorded video and have a live q&a chatbox imo.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
therockyroad Avatar
36 months ago

This reminds me of 19th century prison chapels where each prisoner sat in a partitioned cubicle so they could only see the priest and not each other as part of a prison-wide regime of total isolation from other prisoners. Can you imagine the response if anyone suggested doing the same in a normal school environment? So why do people think it's a good idea for online teaching?


Because it is not a normal school environment. you wouldn’t want it on all the time, but it would be good during an online assessment, plus there are special needs students who don’t have their camera on during lessons but would be more comfortable if they know the whole class isn’t looking at them. Our head of learning support is very happy they added this feature.

PS: The model for a whole gaol like you describe was called a panopticon ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panopticon')
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Stromos Avatar
36 months ago

Have you never attended an assembly or lecture? This is intended to be used for short bursts of focus where you don't need to see everyone else's face for any dubious social reasons, but the presenter would. I have seen meetings go off the rails because someone's child or pet came on camera and someone called attention to it, or I get really self-conscious about my fidgeting/stimming and kill my video feed.
So instead of learning focus let’s mask it completely so these kids are more socially awkward and unprepared for the real world.

Guess what? When you grow up that big business meeting isn’t going to cater to your issues.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)