Adding Focus Sessions

This article is intended for Teachers.

Focus helps your students stay on task by restricting their internet access to just the resources you specify. These resources can be websites, URLs (webpages), or signatures. While you can start a focus session for almost any resource, there are some special things you need to do to Focus on Google Docs, Google Drive or YouTube videos.


Focus overrides all Classwize rules and School Manager policies except Locked Blocked policy.

Starting a Focus Session


You can only use Focus when the class is in session and it will stop when the class ends. If you don’t end the Focus session before the class ends, it will resume the next time the class starts.

  1. Start your class in Classwize.
  2. On the classroom toolbar, select Class Tools > Focus.
  3. On the Focus internet access dialog, enter the resource you want students to focus on in the Focus students on field. You can use a:
    1. website (for example,
    2. signature (for example, Khan Academy)
    3. URL (for example, or

                                          Fig 1. Focus UI showing website, signature and URL



      If you are unsure of the exact website, signature or URL of the resource, enter a keyword and select from the available options. You can add multiple Focus URLs, signatures and sites.

  4. (Companion Mode and Chromebook schools only) Check or uncheck the Open tab checkbox. If your school doesn’t use Companion Mode or Chromebooks, Focus will always open the resource in a new tab. For more information, read What happens during a Focus session
    1. Checked: Classwize will open a new tab on the student’s device for the resource and close all other tabs. If the student doesn’t have an open browser, Classwize will wait until the student opens their browser to launch the resources.


      YouTube URLs are always checked and will always open in fullscreen.

    2. Unchecked: Classwize will close any tabs that don’t match your focus resources. Students can only navigate to your focus resources.
  5. Select Start Focus. 

Allow a few seconds for Focus to take effect. Once Focus starts, the Class is Focused button will appear on the class toolbar. Select this button to edit or end your Focus session.


                                             Fig 2. Class is Focused button in Classwize UI


Starting a Focus session for Google Docs and Drive

Google Docs and Drive have their own settings to ensure your students can open their Google documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

  1. On the class toolbar, select Class Tools > Focus. The Focus internet access dialog will appear.
  2. In the Focus students on box, search and select Google Docs and Drive.
  3. Select Start Focus.

One Google Drive tab will open for the student. This tab enables students to access any Google Doc.


Starting a Focus session for YouTube videos

You can Focus the class on individual YouTube videos while preventing students from accessing any other YouTube content. While the class is focused, students can play the YouTube video in full-screen, but they can't see ads, comments and suggested videos.

To start a Focus session for YouTube videos:


If you have added a rule for a YouTube video but students are restricted from viewing it, contact your school's IT support staff to discuss adjusting your school's YouTube SafeSearch settings.

  1. Start the class.
  2. On the class toolbar, select Class Tools > Focus. The Class is focused dialog will appear.
  3. Paste the YouTube URL in the Focus students on field. If you enter multiple YouTube URLs, each will open in its own tab on the student’s device.


    YouTube URLs will always open in a new tab in fullscreen so you won’t be able to uncheck the Open tab checkbox.

  4. Select Start Focus.


                                               Fig 3. Class is focused on a YouTube video.


Editing a Focus session

You can edit an active Focus session by adding, removing, or replacing Focus sites and URLs.

  1. Select Class is Focused on the class toolbar.
  2. Make your changes in the Class is focused dialog:
    1. To delete a Focus site, category or URL, select its Delete icon (X).
    2. To add a new focus site or page, search and select it from the Focus students on field. Check or uncheck the Open tab checkbox based on whether you want the URL to open in a new tab.
    3. To add more Focus URLs, paste and select the new URLs one by one in the Focus students on field. Check or uncheck the Open tab checkbox based on whether you want the URL to open in a new tab.
  3. Select Save.


                                                   Fig 4. Delete icon to delete a Focus site


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