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Zoom announces new ‘Focus’ mode for students


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Zoom announced this week some updates to its popular video conferencing platform. The app is rolling out a new “Focus” mode today that is designed primarily to keep students from getting distracted during online classes.

As online classes have become more than necessary around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, audio and video calling apps are constantly adding new features and improving their services for a better experience. Now Zoom is offering a Focus mode, which can be used by anyone but is perfect for teachers.

The company first revealed the feature in a blog post (via The Verge) earlier today. Once the host enables Focus mode, the other participants will no longer be able to see each other on the call. The host will still have access to all participants’ webcams, but other people will not be distracted by the live videos of their peers.

Focus Mode allows educators to see their students’ videos, and students to see their teachers without seeing other class participants. 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. 

According to Zoom, the feature can be enabled for accounts, groups, or even individual users. Focus mode is accessible through the More button that shows up while in a call.

Focus mode in iOS 15

iOS 15 also comes with a new feature called Focus mode. However, it works in a different way than the new option added to Zoom.

With Focus mode on iOS, users can create focus profiles for different activities like sleeping, working, or studying. Each profile can have different apps and contacts allowed, so all others not included in the list will not notify you when that mode is enabled. Users can also hide apps from the Home screen when Focus mode is on, and even schedule a profile for a specific time or location.

iOS 15 is expected to be available to all users this fall.

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