Aug 17 2022

New Zoom Features Enhance Communication in K–12 Education

Johann Zimmern, Zoom’s global education marketing lead, explains the company’s plans for upgraded communication features that focus on accessibility and interoperability.

Ahead of the coming school year, Zoom is rolling out new features intended to benefit students and educators. The company is seeking to introduce functions teachers and administrators need for sustained remote learning, a model many districts are considering as they move away from the emergency remote learning model of the past couple of years.

Many of Zoom’s new features are built around interoperability and accessibility. For example, Zoom Chat will work for all Chromebook users, and integration with learning management systems will help educators set and move meetings with ease.

“We’re building out new feature sets, not just in Zoom meetings, but also into the integration of what that means in a classroom,” says Johann Zimmern, the company’s global education marketing lead.

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Upgraded accessibility features will include the ability to designate a user as an ASL interpreter and pin that interpreter’s window anywhere on the screen. Additionally, the company is looking to make translation services more readily available to help users communicate despite language barriers.

“There have been a lot of challenges for school districts with multilingual users,” Zimmern says. “Zoom is trying to optimize that within the meeting platform. If the speaker from the school district speaks English, and my language is Russian, I can turn the closed captioning on, and it will transcribe it in Russian using artificial intelligence.”

Cloud Telephony Grows as a Communications Solution in Schools

Another priority for Zoom this school year is cloud telephony. Zoom Phone became popular in school districts during the pandemic, especially among educators.

“Most of them only had personal devices, and when they had to give out their mobile numbers to communicate with parents and students, they were very reluctant to do that,” Zimmern says. “With Zoom Phone and cloud telephony, you can hide their personal numbers. You can make it look like you’re calling from the district office.”

Hosted by Amazon Web Services, Zoom Phone’s cloud telephony solution gives districts a Unified Communication as a Service option for teachers and administrators. The company has also made sure the service complies with Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’s Act.

LEARN MORE: Understand FERPA, CIPA and other K–12 student data privacy laws.

Looking ahead, Zoom is eager to continue facilitating communication and making it easier for students to “leverage the new technology that’s been introduced everywhere,” Zimmern says.

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