Popular video-conferencing tool Zoom recently rolled out a feature labeled as Focus Mode on their platform. Focus mode is targeted more towards teachers and educational organizations that face the issue where students tend to get distracted by one another. The Focus Mode introduces a feature where the hosts and co-hosts can disable the participants from viewing each other’s videos and only see the host’s video. The feature is being introduced to prevent students from getting distracted by other student’s videos and can single-handedly focus on the teacher/host’s video.
The Focus Mode would not be disabling any other reactions or chats that the other peers send out. Additionally, it would just show the student their video and the teacher’s video in the classroom. So the student can provide their undivided attention to what the teacher is explaining.
The Focus Mode is additionally customizable and can be turned on or off anytime during the class. So a teacher can disable Zoom’s Focus Mode if they want the entire class to discuss a particular topic or interact with one another. Essentially, the feature is not hard set to one mode and can be changed according to the person hosting and if they want the participants to see each other or not. The feature is primarily targeted towards teachers and their classrooms but is not restricted to a target group, and the same feature can be used for virtual office meetings. This feature is well equipped for office presentations, too, as one can present and have colleagues pay attention to the presentation rather than get distracted.
Overall, the feature includes flexibility and also aims at reducing distraction. Zoom also claims that Focus Mode will help a lot when it comes to students getting distracted in class and claims that it can eliminate distractions. However, eliminating distractions is a big claim. Still, the Focus Mode will help students pay more attention to what the teacher is presenting and help the teachers reach out to their students directly.
The host needs the Desktop version 5.7.3 of Zoom installed on their Windows or Mac computer to use the Focus Mode on Zoom. From Zoom’s Web Portal, it needs to be turned on and customized accordingly for the users in the account or a group. And the Focus Mode can be accessed in an ongoing meeting by selecting the “More” button on the meeting toolbar.