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Apr 12, 2001
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Zoom has introduced a new feature called Focus Mode that's designed to prevent students from distracting each other during virtual classrooms.

zoom-focus-mode.jpg

When enabled, Focus Mode allows the teacher or lecturer taking the class to see all the students, while each student can only see the teacher.

The setting can be activated at any time by the teleconferencing host, so for example it could be turned on for lecture periods to reduce distractions from students' video feeds and then turned off for group discussion.

Focus Mode is available on the free desktop Zoom client, therefore lending itself to other uses, like business meetings, family gatherings and so on.

zoom-focus-mode-2.jpg

Zoom announced the new feature in a blog post offering other back-to-school tips to get children prepared for virtual or hybrid learning. Version 5.7.5 of Zoom for Mac is available to download from the Zoom website.

Article Link: Zoom Gains Focus Mode to Help Reduce Distractions in Virtual Classrooms
 
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Mitthrawnuruodo

Moderator emeritus
Mar 10, 2004
14,175
680
Bergen, Norway
I've been teaching a lot over Zoom during a few periods of lockdown, and it has been less than ideal.

However, this seems like a nice way to get the students to actually enable camera (privacy concern and distractions are two main reasons why I normally teach to a bunch of "icons on black background").

That way it would be possible to actually get the "feel of the room", although just fraction of what you can get in a physical classroom.

There are other issues to zoom lectures (not least for practical subjects), but every little bit helps.

Now, I don't trust Zoom anywhere near enough to install the client on my personal Mac, I still consider the app as Malware, but on my company issued work Mac this will be a welcome upgrade.
 

DaSal

macrumors 6502
Mar 19, 2008
253
85
The Netherlands
I've been teaching a lot over Zoom during a few periods of lockdown, and it has been less than ideal.

However, this seems like a nice way to get the students to actually enable camera (privacy concern and distractions are two main reasons why I normally teach to a bunch of "icons on black background").

That way it would be possible to actually get the "feel of the room", although just fraction of what you can get in a physical classroom.

There are other issues to zoom lectures (not least for practical subjects), but every little bit helps.

Now, I don't trust Zoom anywhere near enough to install the client on my personal Mac, I still consider the app as Malware, but on my company issued work Mac this will be a welcome upgrade.
Honestly, as a student, I feel like this is the worst of both worlds from a student perspective. I absolutely hate zoom calls for a number of reasons:

- It’s distracting/hard to focus - primarily because of your OWN preview (you also don’t do other things in front of a mirror)
- Other students can be distracting
- (Most) teachers themselves can be distracting, for instance by being poorly prepared, having technical issues (bad WiFi - stutter, bad microphone or bad camera) or another common one is teachers taking +25% longer than a physical lecture because ‘they can’ which generally results in lectures that either drag and are too slow paced or on the other end of the spectrum, are overfilled and fatiguing

The upsides being:

- seeing your fellow students
- seeing the teacher

With this new feature, it basically remains a ****** experience for students while also removing any social elements.

at this point might as well just stream a live recorded video and have a live q&a chatbox imo.
 

Poisednoise

macrumors regular
Mar 13, 2009
180
80
London UK
This is a welcome new feature for teachers, although a pity it’s being introduced at a point where most of the developed world is looking to returning to the classroom. Apart from the US my understanding is most countries are reverting to a greater normality this September: this is certainly the case in Europe (I teach in the UK).
 
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therockyroad

macrumors member
Dec 7, 2011
77
32
This is a welcome new feature for teachers, although a pity it’s being introduced at a point where most of the developed world is looking to returning to the classroom. Apart from the US my understanding is most countries are reverting to a greater normality this September: this is certainly the case in Europe (I teach in the UK).
Unfortunately not Australia. More regions locking down every day atm, including all of Sydney and much of NSW. Looks like we will be remote learning for at least a whole ten week school term.
 
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NightFox

macrumors 68030
May 10, 2005
2,690
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Shropshire, UK
This reminds me of 19th century prison chapels where each prisoner sat in a partitioned cubicle so they could only see the priest and not each other as part of a prison-wide regime of total isolation from other prisoners. Can you imagine the response if anyone suggested doing the same in a normal school environment? So why do people think it's a good idea for online teaching?

p05lycr3.jpg
 
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therockyroad

macrumors member
Dec 7, 2011
77
32
This reminds me of 19th century prison chapels where each prisoner sat in a partitioned cubicle so they could only see the priest and not each other as part of a prison-wide regime of total isolation from other prisoners. Can you imagine the response if anyone suggested doing the same in a normal school environment? So why do people think it's a good idea for online teaching?

View attachment 1817703
Because it is not a normal school environment. you wouldn’t want it on all the time, but it would be good during an online assessment, plus there are special needs students who don’t have their camera on during lessons but would be more comfortable if they know the whole class isn’t looking at them. Our head of learning support is very happy they added this feature.

PS: The model for a whole gaol like you describe was called a panopticon
 
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ReddJive

macrumors newbie
Jun 2, 2021
13
4
This is a welcome new feature for teachers, although a pity it’s being introduced at a point where most of the developed world is looking to returning to the classroom. Apart from the US my understanding is most countries are reverting to a greater normality this September: this is certainly the case in Europe (I teach in the UK).
Though I didn't add any information other than what I said I do love the assumptions and judgmental responses. I kind of did this on purpose to find out how many apologists there were. It seems a lot.

First, not all areas in the US teach the same. For instance in my school district my kid's teachers spent 12 minutes of each classroom time actually on video teaching. The rest was chat me or email if you have a question. I spent more time teaching my kids the lesson work than teachers did. Why then am I sending them to school (virtual or not)? In my kids case teachers are making them selves irrelevant to the process. My wife situation? the professors record the lecture and then it's up to the student to go watch it. If they have questions during the video and they are taking it during class time the professor is in his "office" and can answer questions.

Mind you I did my masters degree by virtual in 2011. It worked well. I am doing my phd by virtual now. also working well. My wife is in Community College prepping for medical school and it is not going well. The standards vary and not all is quality.
 
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MacBH928

macrumors 604
May 17, 2008
6,700
2,792
There is a free and open source app called Jitsi , so I see no reason for people to continue to use zoom
 

RalfTheDog

macrumors 68000
Feb 23, 2010
1,632
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Lagrange Point
This is a welcome new feature for teachers, although a pity it’s being introduced at a point where most of the developed world is looking to returning to the classroom. Apart from the US my understanding is most countries are reverting to a greater normality this September: this is certainly the case in Europe (I teach in the UK).
Give it a few months and a few more variants. I suspect normalcy will no longer be normal.
 

bookofxero

macrumors regular
Dec 31, 2017
131
195
This reminds me of 19th century prison chapels where each prisoner sat in a partitioned cubicle so they could only see the priest and not each other as part of a prison-wide regime of total isolation from other prisoners. Can you imagine the response if anyone suggested doing the same in a normal school environment? So why do people think it's a good idea for online teaching?

View attachment 1817703
Have you never attended an assembly or lecture? This is intended to be used for short bursts of focus where you don't need to see everyone else's face for any dubious social reasons, but the presenter would. I have seen meetings go off the rails because someone's child or pet came on camera and someone called attention to it, or I get really self-conscious about my fidgeting/stimming and kill my video feed.
 

bookofxero

macrumors regular
Dec 31, 2017
131
195
Give it a few months and a few more variants. I suspect normalcy will no longer be normal.
This will sound callous, but children getting sick is what it is going to take for a lot of people to really start taking things seriously. To paraphrase Bill Hicks, it's like after a certain age people get taken off each other's "love lists".
 

Stromos

macrumors 6502
Jul 1, 2016
401
999
Woodstock, GA
Have you never attended an assembly or lecture? This is intended to be used for short bursts of focus where you don't need to see everyone else's face for any dubious social reasons, but the presenter would. I have seen meetings go off the rails because someone's child or pet came on camera and someone called attention to it, or I get really self-conscious about my fidgeting/stimming and kill my video feed.
So instead of learning focus let’s mask it completely so these kids are more socially awkward and unprepared for the real world.

Guess what? When you grow up that big business meeting isn’t going to cater to your issues.
 

bookofxero

macrumors regular
Dec 31, 2017
131
195
So instead of learning focus let’s mask it completely so these kids are more socially awkward and unprepared for the real world.

Guess what? When you grow up that big business meeting isn’t going to cater to your issues.
Perhaps you should grow up and stop making assumptions about others or disparaging those that might have legitimate accessibility needs that limit their ability to focus as well as others.

No one - and I mean no one - is going to "learn focus" or "social preparedness" from being told to watch a Zoom presentation, nor will anyone's social skills suffer any harm (let alone irreparable, irreversible harm) from having distractions removed for a presentation.
 

Le0M

macrumors regular
Aug 13, 2020
235
447
Not only nowadays students don't go to school, but they won't even see their classmates during online classes!
What an ingenious idea to make young people even less social and increase their emotions difficulties!!!
 
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ke-iron

macrumors 65816
Aug 14, 2014
1,374
818
As a full time student, this is not good for students. Not even able to socialize on campus because of Covid, and now you cannot see your peers during class discussions!! During test or quizzes sure but to have enabled all the time is a horrible idea!
 
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