Video meet app Zoom on Thursday announced new features that will enhance student engagement and classroom management. Zoom said it will let users create a virtual classroom seating arrangement. It is also bringing a spotlight feature to highlight a group of presenting students. 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. This locks the gallery into a fixed configuration that won't shift when a new person speaks or enters the room.
In a future update, teachers will be able to save their custom gallery layout as a virtual seating chart. Another feature that's coming to Zoom is multi-pinning.
With multi-pinning, any user may "pin" up to nine other participants on-screen in their custom personal view. This is particularly helpful for teachers and students that use American Sign Language because it does not automatically trigger the speaker to appear in the speaker 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.
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. Students still have the option to not grant permission to unmute and attend the meeting.
In addition, Zoom will bring the "Original Sound" mode that will allow you to disable echo cancellation and post-processing and get rid of compression. Zoom claims that this setting will also raise audio codec quality from 22kHz to 48kHz, 96Kbps mono/192Kbps stereo for professional audio transmission in music education and performance applications.