New Zoom features look to help teachers manage virtual classrooms
With the coronavirus keeping many classes online, video chat service Zoom is adding features for educators to improve classroom engagement and control.
Alison DeNisco RayomeManaging Editor
Managing Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome joined CNET in 2019, and is a member of the Home team. She is a co-lead of the CNET Tips and We Do the Math series, and manages the Home Tips series, testing out new hacks for cooking, cleaning and tinkering with all of the gadgets and appliances in your house. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
ExpertiseHome Tips, including cooking, cleaning and appliances hacksCredentials
National Silver Azbee Award for Impact/Investigative Journalism; National Gold Azbee Award for Online Single Topic Coverage by a Team; National Bronze Azbee Award for Web Feature Series
New features for teachers include more control over virtual classroom views. You'll be able to customize your classroom's gallery view to make it easier to find students and "go around the room" in order, and place a spotlight on a group of students who are presenting to the class.
While Zoom typically gives control over muting or unmuting audio to participants, another new feature will let teachers selectively unmute student audio, so long as all parties opt in. This could be helpful for younger students who may not know how to use the microphone, or music lessons where students are holding an instrument, the post noted.
In terms of increasing accessibility, teachers can "pin" up to nine students on screen in their custom personal view, so those who use sign language will still be visible even if they aren't triggered in speaker view. And students who are deaf or hard of hearing can pin both their teacher and translator on the screen at once.
For small-group work, students will be able to select a breakout room and move between rooms. And music teachers can go into Advanced Audio and select the option to enhance "original sound," which will raise audio quality.
All the new features will roll out in August and September.