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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Zoom to get new features to improve student engagement

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Video conferencing platform Zoom is set to bring new features to enhance student engagement and classroom management. The upcoming features will be accessible for teachers and students across the globe for free. As announced by the company, the features that may come to the Zoom app include customizable gallery view, multi-pinning, Unmute with consent and more.
To improve class management, students can now create a virtual classroom seating arrangement. With the customizable gallery view, participants can drag and drop participants into whatever order one may like. The feature will lock the gallery into a fixed configuration which will not shift even when a new person speaks or enters the room.
The upcoming multi-pinning feature will enable a user to pin up to 9 participants on-screen in their custom personal view. The feature, Zoom says, will be helpful for teachers and students that use American Sign Language because it does not automatically trigger the speaker to appear in the speaker view. It will also help students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
With the multi-spotlight feature, teachers will be able to spotlight up to nine participants for the entire meeting. They can thus create a custom, focused group view that is visible to the entire class. In the future, teachers will be able to selectively unmute participants’ audio. The feature will be helpful in situations where students may not have the ability to unmute themselves like the K-2 grade students who may not know how to operate their microphones or students with physical or other constraints preventing them from accessing the mute controls.
“To protect student privacy and maintain participant control, Zoom will require the meeting host and all participants to opt into this audio control,” Zoom said in a statement. The feature will be recurring for all zoom meetings once the permission is granted. Participants can, however, revoke this permission at any time, including between meetings.
Another feature that is coming to Zoom is the breakout room. One will be able to create themed breakout rooms or reading groups and invite students to move between them based on their interests in topics. Additionally, students will be able to use advanced audio for professional music mode. The advanced audio feature will enhance “Original Sound” mode, allowing one to disable echo cancellation and post-processing and get rid of compression.
This mode will require a professional audio interface, microphone, and headphones to enable high-quality private lessons.

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