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Zoom rolled out New Focus Mode to Avoid Distractions

The Zoom video conferencing app is one of the most widely used video conferencing apps. Zoom has grown in popularity among students and in business spaces since the pandemic. Recently Zoom launched a new Focus mode, which it claims will protect students in a virtual classroom from becoming distracted while still allowing the teacher to keep an eye on everyone.

When Focus mode is on, participants in a meeting won't be able to see each other's videos or screen sharing, but the host will still be able to see everyone's webcams. It gives you some of the control of Webinar mode without the hassle and lack of flexibility — for example, a teacher could use Focus mode while presenting and then switch it off when it's time for a class discussion. While hosting a Webinar is expensive, Focus mode offers free accounts for testing purposes.

The release of this feature comes with the start of the new school year in many districts, as well as the continuing threat of COVID-19. Virtual classrooms appear to be here to stay for the near term, so Zoom's addition of tele-learning features is welcome. While focus mode will display the teacher's video or screen sharing in front of students, it will not be the only thing on their devices. Participants can still watch their own video as well as any screen shares or video highlighted by the meeting host. Participants will also be able to see all of the other participants' names as well as all of the emoji reactions.

How to enable Focus Mode:

1. Launch the Zoom app.

2. Start hosting meetings.

3. On the toolbar, select ‘More.'

4. Select ‘Start Focus Mode.' Press the ‘Confirm' button.

5. Click ‘Don't ask me again.'

6. The Focus Mode option has been turned on, and all participants, including the host and co-host, will be notified.

Overall, the function appears to be a good approach to keep students from disturbing one other in class, and it may even have applications outside of the classroom (say, during company presentations, if managers are worried about employees not paying attention to slides).

This feature is free and licensed and is available to all types of users. All you have to do is enable it through the Zoom web portal for all types of accounts.