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Zoom announces new features for virtual classrooms

Zoom announces new features for online classes. Zoom announces new features for online classes.
Zoom announces new features for online classes. (Zoom)

Zoom's latest features for online classes include spotlighting multiple students at once, multi-pinning, and more. 

Zoom has announced new features for teachers and students as it aims to provide a better online classroom experience. The new Zoom features will roll out to the platform’s free version and education plans as well.

Zoom will now let users create a virtual classroom seating arrangement. It’s also bringing a spotlight feature to highlight a group of presenting students. Speaking of which, teachers will be able to spotlight up to nine participants at once for a focused group view. Zoom is also making it possible for users to drag and drop participants in ‘Gallery View’ based on whatever order they choose. The gallery will remain fixed even when a new person speaks or enters the room. Zoom also plans to let teachers save these gallery layouts as a virtual seating chart in the future.

Another feature that’s coming to Zoom is multi-pinning. With this, users can pin up to nine other participants on-screen in their custom personal view. Zoom says that this will be helpful for students who are deaf or hard of hearing to pin both the teacher and interpreter on the screen. Students will also get to select a breakout room and move between rooms soon. These breakout rooms can be themed or reading groups and invites can be sent accordingly.

Zoom is also giving teachers the ability to selectively mute some students. For this, the meeting host and participants will have to opt in for the audio control. The same setting can be used for future classes once permission is granted. Students still have the option to not grant permission to unmute and attend the meeting. But hosts can always request to mute them.

For teachers hosting music classes or performing arts can use the ‘Original Sound’ mode that disables echo cancellation, post-processing and gets rid of compression. This also increases the audio codec quality from 2kHz to 48Khz, 96Kbps mono/192Kbps stereo for professional audio transmission. While this mode tries to get the best audio quality, it will still require professional audio equipment.

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