Zoom has unveiled new features for its Education users in response to requests from teachers and administrators. These features span Zoom’s chat and meeting offerings, including Virtual Background and Blur for Chromebooks, Anywhere Polls, and Breakout Room enhancements. The new features are designed to engage students in submitting homework assignments, as per the company, and are available in the latest update. Some of the new features will be rolled out later this year. Here’s a look at the new features on Zoom

Virtual Background and Blur for Chromebooks

This feature adds a virtual background and blur for Chromebooks. You can avail the feature and change the settings straight from the Zoom app. You can follow these simple instructions to change your background on Chrome OS.

Breakout Room enhancements

Breakout Rooms feature also received enhancements in the latest release. It now allows meeting hosts to share content with audio with participants in Breakout Rooms, adding the ability to share videos with audio. With the LTI Pro integration enhancement, educators can populate Breakout Rooms from the course roster. This can be used to assign Breakout Rooms in advance and then automatically sort students into different Rooms.

Anywhere Polls

Anywhere Polls will allow polling content to live in a central repository that can be accessed from any meeting on an account instead of being associated with a particular meeting. This feature will be available later this year. In addition to these features, Zoom has also announced a few additional features for Chat and Waiting rooms. These include sending audio and video messages in Zoom chats and the ability to rename the participants in the Waiting Room. The company claims that asynchronous video allows users the time to consider their responses and then record as needed to provide thoughtfully crafted responses.

Users can click Video at the bottom of the chat client and record up to a 3-minute video message that goes directly into the out-of-meeting chat channel. It is useful for situations such as students submitting brief video assignments. Also, renaming participants before they join the meeting can be used for attendance taking where students may be using shared devices, for creating an anonymous student group, or for affirming gender identity.

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