Zoom has a new feature to help students stay focused during online learning. The app’s new Focus mode allows teachers to show their video feed within a class while hiding everyone else’s. Based on testing by The Verge, Focus mode appears to work with free Zoom accounts.
Focus Mode can be turned on and off during a call, so a teacher could hide the videos of students during one element of a class and then open up face-to-face interaction for another part.
When Focus mode is active, students will see their video and video from the host, including screen shares and video feeds from a camera. While participants’ faces are hidden, people will be able to see the names of other participants and emoji reactions.
Some of the features in Focus Mode are available in Zoom’s Webinar mode. Notably, Focus mode appears to work with free Zoom accounts while Webinar mode costs money. Webinars are also more complicated, so Focus mode should be an easier way to draw attention to a teacher or presenter.
Zoom has a support document to help enable Focus mode for accounts and to use it within meetings.