DemLabs blog

Teach better over Zoom

Train more people to spot and counter misinformation with new Zoom based teaching apps.

Disinformation is being used to manipulate people into behavior that could kill them. Disinformation is a devious weapon that's hard to understand and harder to counter. That's why better online education and training trainers to raise awareness about it is important.

Delivering training online is hard. How do you explain complex concepts while keeping it interesting? How do you answer questions without being an expert on the topic? How can videos and graphics be incorporated into the Zoom presentation to illustrate your point? How can the training material be quickly updated with new content and examples? How can expert advice be tapped when needed during a Zoom session without looking away from the camera?

This blog explains how we designed a course with advice from a dozen disinformation experts and resources. It includes thirty real world examples of online manipulation as videos and infographics. The teaching material is packaged so for delivery over Zoom (or Webex) without looking away from the camera, and can be freely shared with students so they can review it later as well.

Create multimedia content with talking points, videos and graphics to teach better on Zoom

Prepare the training

Trump has promoted Hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID and cited bogus experts in videos to validate his theory. This example can be used to explain a common disinformation tactic and use all the components in a Zoom based training. This is a simple training on spotting disinformation was created using the BigStage Teleprompter app.

Link to script in a free teleprompter app
Link to YouTube video that illustrates the tactic

The BigStageTeleprompter link can be launched during a Zoom presentation and runs in a separate browser window which only the presenter can see. Learn more here.

Create interactive training that only the presenter sees during ZOOM presentations.

Collect the material to teach

Material on disinformation tactics, counter measures, video examples and infographics that would be used in the training were collected into a Google Sheet along with links to videos and infographics. Each video and graphic has a corresponding teacher notes which can be used to explain the topic. This helps during Zoom sessions because the trainer can respond to a student's question by immediately picking the appropriate answer and graphic or video to accompany the explanation.

Learn how to spot disinformation and manipulation tactics.

How to attack, deny and evade opponents by manipulation and disinformation

Incorporate videos in your training

There's nothing better than live examples of disinformation tactics being used to train people to recognize when they are being manipulated. We collected thirty two videos and graphics that a trainer can display as part of the training. This content is shown in a separate browser window while only the trainer can see the talking points that accompany the video.

Video examples of how to spot and counter misinformation and disinformation

Incorporate graphics and schematics

Infographics andschematics to  illustrate how to spot and counter misinformation and disinformation

Prepare your training script

The script to explain a concept was prepared so that only the trainer could see it in an on-screen teleprompter window during the Zoom training. The presenter can control the speed at which the script scrolls and pause it to answer questions. It's best to use a modular design in your training so that you can quickly branch off to answer a question and then return to the main training. Some of the scripts we assembled include:

How to S.W.A.M.P. opposition with disinformation. (S) Strawmen: Attack views or ideas, never expressed by the target. (W) Whataboutism: Deflect the discussion away from the subject. (A) Attack: Use brutal language to discourage the opposition. (M) Mockery: Use sarcasm to belittle the opposition. (P) Provocations: Who benefits from Cui Bono? (E) Exhaust: Drown the opposition in details and technicalities. (D) Denial: Flatly deny any evidence. (EU vs Disinfo)

Add graphics, videos and cartoons to your training material to improve the chances that students will remember it. Here are some examples of misinformation tactics in an illustrated form. Many of these misinformation tactics have Russian roots.

Claim that your opponent is resorting to fraud in order to create confusion.

Fan resentment to encourage others to accept your disinformation

Claim that you are the real victim and weaponize that to attack others

Use What-about-ism to deny your own responsibility and blame others.

Insult the other side to dodge a serious discussion about the issues.

Assemble the online training course

Learn how to use the teleprompter here. Here are other examples of how to use the app.

Fighting disinfo? Coordinate a rapid response with shared talking points.
Answering hard questions in a Zoom meeting
Speak truth to power, but first practice your lines
Zoom media interview? Perform better with realtime invisible helpers.
Stick to your message. Use a teleprompter.
Answer tough questions on Zoom without breaking a sweat

Resources used

EU vs Disinformation
Tactical Tech
First Draft News
Rand Waltzman
Stop Funding Hate
Selected Wisdom
Coda Story
Columbia Journalism Review
Go Viral to fight COVID Disinfo

TakeAway: Learn how to present valuable skills better over Zoom with the free BigStage Teleprompter.

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DemLabs applies innovative technology and storytelling tools in service of democratic values. It lowers the barrier of funding for worthy candidates and non-profits by applying existing free/affordable solutions.