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New Features in Zoom

Smart phone with Zoom app on the screen

Many educators found Zoom to be an invaluable tool in being able to continue with teaching and learning this last year. By now, you have probably gotten used to hosting or participating in Zoom meetings. Did you know that the Zoom software is updated periodically to add new features? There are some new Zoom features that you can use in order to provide a more engaging online learning experience for your students. Read on for some new features that may be of interest to you.

NOTE: You must have an up-to-date version of the Zoom client software to test out these features. Here’s some information on how to update Zoom.

1) Share Screen to all Breakout Rooms

If you used breakout rooms before, you may have facilitated a breakout room activity where you wanted to share your screen in all the breakout rooms while the participants are in the breakout rooms. If so, your wish has come true! There is a new “Share to breakout rooms” option available in when you click on the Share Screen button when breakout rooms are open.

share to breakout rooms option
Screen Share to Breakout Rooms

Note: Sharing your screen will interrupt any screen shares that participants may have started in the breakout rooms.

2) Focus Mode

Focus Mode does just that – it helps keep participants focused in a Zoom meeting. This feature was designed with educators in mind. Focus Mode places meeting participants in a view where they are only able to see themselves, the host/co-hosts, and the content they are sharing. In this view, hosts and co-hosts can also choose to view participants in gallery view, enabling them to see all participants simultaneously. This feature can help instructors who facilitate and proctor exams on Zoom. Instructors can require students to be sharing their screens simultaneously while taking an exam, and then the host can review each student’s screen, without the students seeing each other’s screens.

start Focus Mode
Prompt to Start Focus Mode in Zoom meeting

In order to use Focus Mode in a Zoom meeting, you first must go to your settings in your account and turn on Focus Mode. More information can be found in this Focus Mode article on the Zoom support site.

3) Vanishing Pen

This new feature in the Annotation toolbar is available when screen sharing or using the Whiteboard. The vanishing pen allows hosts and participants to use a pen tool where the drawings slowly vanish. This is helpful if you want to draw attention to something temporarily. Instead of using the draw tool to make a mark and then using the eraser tool to remove the marking, you can use the Vanishing Pen and the marking will slowly disappear.

You select the Vanishing Pen by clicking on the Spotlight button in the Annotation toolbar, and then selecting Vanishing Pen.

spotlight using vanishing pen
Annotation Tools - Spotlight using Vanishing Pen

4) Share and Play Video Files Directly Into Meeting

This feature allows you to directly choose a video file from your computer to play through screen sharing. Instead of having to share your desktop and bring up the file, or share a specific video playback program, the video file will play directly in Zoom for all meeting participants to watch. This option is located in the Advanced tab of the Share Screen window.

Share screen - share video option
Share Screen Advanced options - Share Video

More information can be found in this Sharing and Playing a Video on the Zoom support site.

5) Reactions - Full Emoji Suite and “Away” Coffee Cup

If you click on the Reactions button in Zoom, you’ll notice that you have a full array of emojis to choose from in order to express your emotions! When an emoji or icon is selected, it will appear in the corner of your video, as well as next to your name in the Participants window. Emoji reactions will disappear after 10 seconds, while raise hand and nonverbal feedback, such as Yes, No, Slow down, and Speed up will be persistent and must be manually removed by the participant or host. Additionally, you will also find the Coffee Cup icon, which will display an “away” status for you. The host and participants can use the Coffee Cup to indicate when they have stepped away from the meeting and then turn the Coffee Cup off when they return.

Zoom reactions
Zoom Reactions
Zoom coffee cup reaction with "I'm away" noted on the screen
Zoom Coffee Cup Reaction
Zoom emojis
Zoom Emojis

6) Immersive View

Zoom Immersive View is a feature that places some or all meeting participants in one virtual background. It helps to simulate the feeling of an in-person meeting or classroom. The feature can accommodate up to 25 people. To enable Immersive View as the host, click the View icon in the upper right corner of a Zoom meeting, and then click “Immersive View.” You’ll be presented with several options for virtual immersive “rooms” for up to 25 participants.

Zoom's View menu with immersive view highlighted
Zoom's View menu with Immersive View highlighted
CAT+FD team in a Zoom meeting using Immersive View
Example of CAT+FD Team in an Immersive View

For more information check out this Introducing Zoom Immersive View blog post. Additional information about Immersive View can be found in the Zoom Help Center.

7) Mute and Video Off When Joining a Recorded/Live Streamed Meeting

When participants join a meeting that is currently being recorded or livestreamed, they will be notified, and their audio and video will automatically be turned off. This will allow them to fully opt into being recorded or not, without their face or voice accidentally being recorded if they do not consent to it.

8) Post-Meeting Survey

Hosts now have the ability to have Zoom prompt participants to take a survey after they leave a Zoom meeting, including through third-party survey tools. After participants leave a Zoom meeting, the survey will automatically load in their browser. Hosts can then review the survey results via the Reports feature in your account or through the third-party website.

Zoom survey options
Add a survey to Zoom meeting

To apply a post-meeting survey for a Zoom meeting, you first must go to your account settings and turn on Meeting Survey. Then, after scheduling a Zoom meeting, the Survey feature will be available at the bottom of the meeting confirmation page. For more information check out this Post meeting Survey and reporting page on the Zoom support site.

9) Live Transcription

Live speech-to-text transcription, when enabled by the host, allows participants the ability to turn on in order to view live generated subtitles of the meeting’s audio. Participants can click a button to request the live transcription to be turned on. The host is notified of this request and is presented with a button that allows them to enable the transcription immediately. These features are located in the Live Transcript button in a Zoom meeting. Enabling the Live Transcript will make your Zoom classes more accessible!

Closed Captioning Settings
Closed Captioning Settings
Enable live transcription
Enable live transcription in Zoom meeting

Try out these new features and let us know what you think by leaving a comment on this blog post.

ICYMI, you may be interested in these Zoom related CAT FooD blog posts:

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