Education How-to

4 New Zoom Features Educators Can Use to Enhance Virtual Teaching & Learning

With Custom Gallery View, Multi-spotlight, Multi-pinning, and Unmute with Consent, teachers can enhance the online learning experience.
5 min read

Updated on September 22, 2022

Published on September 21, 2020

Multi-spotlight feature

Hey, teachers! Zoom has a bunch of features you can use to better manage the online teaching experience, and we just rolled out four brand-new ones! Here’s how our features will help you teach — and students learn — over Zoom.

Create a virtual seating chart 

What it is: Video reordering

About the feature: Zoom’s industry-leading Gallery View allows you to see the video of up to 49 participants at a time. Now, you can easily drag and drop video tiles and rearrange the order in which students appear in your Gallery View. This view gets locked into a fixed configuration, so it won’t shift when a new person speaks or enters the virtual classroom.

How it helps: You can drag and drop students for a virtual seating chart - and choose to have students follow your view for a custom seating arrangement that everybody sees.  This is especially handy for activities that involve “going around the room” in a certain order, or placing students into virtual groups.  

Better support deaf & hard-of-hearing students

What it is: Multi-pinning

About the feature: Our Pin Video feature allows you to disable the active speaker view and view only the pinned videos in your individual view. With multi-pinning, hosts can pin up to nine other students on-screen in their custom personal view. Students also are able to pin up to nine other videos with the teacher’s permission.

How it helps: Teachers and students using sign language won’t necessarily appear as the active speaker in the Zoom classroom. With multi-pinning, students who are deaf or hard of hearing can pin both teacher and interpreter on the screen for a more accessible learning experience. If the teacher spotlights a screen, the students’ pinned videos still appear in their previous order across the top.

Enhance select presenters and group work

What it is: Multi-spotlight

About the feature: Teachers can now spotlight up to nine participants during a Zoom session for the whole class to see.

How it helps: Multi-spotlighting allows you to create a custom, focused group view that’s visible to the entire class. This view is great for when you want a select group of students to present to the class together.

More easily manage unmuting

What it is: Unmute with Consent

About the feature: We’ve added an unmute with permission feature where teachers can ask to unmute their students only once and have that permission carried over into other classes.

How it helps: Once the student or parent gives permission, that permission carries to every class that the teacher hosts. So whenever that student joins a class hosted by that teacher, the teacher can always unmute the student instead of asking permission every time.

Students or parents can manage who they have given permission to unmute in the Microphone icon’s “up” arrow. Click “View People Who Can Unmute You” to see every person who has permission to unmute. 

You can also retract permission to unmute at any time from the Zoom client settings under the Audio tab. Check out our support article for more details on using this feature.

Other tips for managing your Zoom classes

Teachers also have a host of other measures to manage their Zoom classrooms. From the Security icon, you can prevent students from:

  • Sharing their screens
  • Renaming themselves
  • Sending a chat to the whole class
  • Unmuting themselves

Simply start the meeting, click the Security icon in the meeting toolbar, and uncheck any of these options. Note: Unchecking “Chat” still allows students to chat with the host (teacher), just not with each other.

Within that same Security icon, you can also lock the virtual classroom after you’ve started or when all your students are accounted for, and enable the Waiting Room if it wasn’t already activated before class. Get more classroom security tips in our “Best Practices for Securing Your Virtual Classroom” blog.

To access these new features and other great Zoom functionality, download the latest Zoom client. To discover more tips, features, and best practices for successfully teaching over Zoom, visit our Zoom for Education page.

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