Zoom's new Focus Mode aims to reduce distractions for kids remote schooling

Zoom on Mac
Zoom on Mac (Image credit: Zoom)

What you need to know

  • Zoom has announced a new feature aimed at helping kids focus during school lessons.
  • Focus Mode means kids only see their teachers, but teachers can switch between different kids.

Cloud meeting company Zoom has announced a new feature that will make it easier for kids to focus while they're learning remotely. Focus Mode is designed to eliminate distractions while giving kids direct contact with their teachers.

As explained in detail via a support post, Focus Mode will prevent kids from seeing other kids during calls, ensuring their focus is on a teacher. That teacher will still be able to see all of the kids in their class, though.

Focus mode is designed with the digital learning environment in mind, allowing students to stay attentive or work on their tasks while under supervision, without being distracted by others and their tasks. This feature gives the host and co-hosts view of all participants' videos without other participants seeing each other. This extends into screen sharing, as the host and co-host can view and switch between each participant's shared screen, while the participants can only view their own content.

Zoom says that teachers will still be able to share a kid's screen with the class if the need arises, like sharing work or other ideas.

If the host finds a participant's content should be shared with others, they can easily begin sharing the participant's screen with others.

The feature is available in the latest version of Zoom and could be a great addition as kids return to school for what could be another year of disruption thanks to COVID-19.

Zoom's Focus Mode shouldn't be confused with the iOS 15 feature by the same name — a feature that is designed to build on existing Do Not Disturb functionality to help people focus on work, play, and other activities.

Is your kid learning from home? These are the best headphones for Zoom right now.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.