Zoom releases a range of new features requested by educators

Zoom is responding to educators’ demands with first-ever virtual background support for Chromebooks, video messaging in Zoom Chat, improvements for chat rooms, and polling anywhere.

At the 2022 CoSN National Conference, Zoom announced a range of new education features in response to requests from teachers and administrators. The features span Zoom’s chat and meetings offerings and are designed to help teachers engage and manage students who join the class remotely or submit assignments.

Virtual and blurred background for Chromebooks

As Chromebooks are a popular choice for students and teachers. Virtual background and blur are now available for Zoom users for the Chrome Progressive Web App (PWA). Zoom says it developed this capability following requests from various education customers, including public schools in Clayton County, one of the 100 largest school districts in the United States.

“Virtual background and blur for Chromebooks is hugely beneficial to our students and teachers,” says Clayton County Public Schools Chief Technology Officer Rod Smith.

“A lot of students were hesitant to turn on their camera before this feature enhancement.”

Breakout Room Improvements

Breakout rooms, an educational feature, have also received improvements in this latest release. Program audio allows meeting hosts to share content with audio in breakout rooms, adding the ability to share video with audio. With improved LTI Pro integration, teachers can populate breakout rooms from the course list.

This can be used to assign breakout rooms in advance and then automatically sort students into breakout rooms.

Additional Chat and Waiting Room Features

Some other new features include sending audio and video messages in Zoom Chat and the ability to rename participants in the waiting room. Asynchronous video gives users time to reflect on their responses, then record them as needed to provide elaborate responses.

Users can click Video at the bottom of the chat client and record up to three minutes of video message directly in the non-meeting chat channel. Zoom says this is useful in situations like students submitting brief video assignments. Or renaming attendees before they join the meeting can be useful for taking attendance when students might be using shared devices, creating an anonymous student group, or asserting their gender identity.

All over the polls

Anywhere Polls will allow poll content to live in a central repository accessible from any meeting on an account, instead of being associated with a particular meeting. This will make it easier for instructors to reuse surveys and will benefit grading. This feature will be available soon.

“We look forward to the Anywhere Polls feature,” says John J. “Ski” Sygielski, Ed., President and CEO of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College. D.

“Enhancements to surveys will make it easier for large groups of students to provide feedback across the College. It will be easier than ever for instructors to replicate content from each course.”

Johann Zimmern, Head of Global Education Strategy at Zoom, said, “Delivering happiness to our customers is at the heart of what we do at Zoom. We work closely with our global K-12 and higher education customers, hearing their demands and involving them. in feature development. As a direct result of this, Zoom has developed these exciting new features for education.”

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