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Zoom announces custom gallery view, spotlight feature, multiple pinning options for virtual classrooms

Zoom has brought in new features for virtual classrooms.

twitter-logoYasmin Ahmed | August 28, 2020 | Updated 14:52 IST
(Source: Reuters)

Highlights

  • Zoom has brought in features to enhance the virtual classroom experience.
  • It has brought multi-pinning, multi-spotlight and audio controls.
  • It has also listed ways to have a controlled and secure classroom experience for teachers.

Schools and educational institutes have moved towards remote learning in the backdrop of a global pandemic that is not ready to budge in some countries. With the uncertainty looming large over the reopening of schools and colleges, classes are being conducted online through Zoom, Google Meet and other video platforms.

One of the most popular video conferencing apps, Zoom has brought in new features for virtual classrooms that will enhance the learning experience and give more control to the teachers or hosts.

Customisable gallery view: Teachers can customise their virtual class seating arrangement through this feature. This locks the gallery into a fixed configuration that won't shift when a new person speaks or enters the room, as per zoom.

Multi-pinning: This feature can assist students with a disability for better understanding. Teachers can use multi pinning to pin up to nine other participants on-screen in their custom personal view.

"Students who are deaf or hard of hearing can pin both teacher and interpreter on the screen for a more accessible learning experience, the company said in a statement.

Multi-spotlight for presentations: This tool can be used for presentations. Teachers can spotlight up to nine participants for the entire meeting, creating a custom, focused group view that is visible to the entire class. This view is ideal for a group of students to present to the entire class.

Audio controls: Zoom usually gives a participant full control over their audio. However, with the option unmute with consent, teachers can select if they want to unmute a particular student.


Zoom noted that links to the classroom should not be shared on a public platform as it could lead to disruption. It should be changed in case users share it.

Additionally, to avoid zoom-bombing, or meeting hijacking, the app has taken several steps through the months to avoid the misconduct. It brought in waiting rooms, passwords and other features. The video conferencing app noted that teachers should use the following steps for a secure virtual classroom experience:

--Disable Join before Host so students cannot join a meeting before the teachers.

--Require a meeting passcode to join.

--Only authenticated users are allowed to join. This requires participants to be signed into their Zoom account with their school's domain to join.

--Lock your virtual classroom once class starts so no one else can enter.

--Disable screen sharing for users without permission and restrict annotation.

--Disable the chat feature to prevent participants from chatting with each other.

--Prevent participants from unmuting or renaming themselves.

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