Introducing Paper and Paste – tools for creating visual learning materials

In this week’s post we are going to look at two tools by FiftyThree; Paper an annotation and sketch tool and Paste a collaborative presentation tool. Both Paper and Paste can be useful in teaching and learning and for your own digital productivity.

Paper is a sketching app which allows you to take handwritten notes, create diagrams, graphs and storyboards, add annotations and, of course, sketch. You can organise your creations into various different notebooks for different themes or uses. These can then be kept within the app or exported as images or PDF documents. Paper comes with a large range of different pen tools as well as the option to cut, drag and drop, zoom, import layouts, graphs and images. Although these apps work independently from each other, anything you create in Paper can quickly be imported into one of your slide decks in Paste.

Paste is a collaborative presentation tool that allows you to quickly create sleek, uncluttered slides. Colleagues can work collaboratively to build a deck of slides, leaving comments and reactions on individual slides and even assigning various slides to individual team members. Paste integrates with lots of different external services, including YouTube, Google Apps, Instagram, Unsplash and Twitter, to allow you to import various types of media to enhance your presentation. When you first create your deck you are provided with a colour scheme to keep your slides uniform and as you add content the layout on your slide automatically adapts to include the new material. Your slides can then be presented from the web, shared with participants using a link or exported as a PDF.

Is it free?

Yes both Paper and Paste are free to use and give you the opportunity to upgrade your account to ‘Pro’ should you want to use the additional features this provides. Paper also has an additional Pencil stylus that you may choose to invest in should you find the app useful.

Will it work on my device?

Apps for Paper and Paste are currently available on both iPads and iPhones. Unfortunately they do not currently have apps for Android devices however Paste can be accessed via a web browser so can be used on any device with an internet connection.

Where can I get the app?

You can download the Paper and Paste mobile apps from the Apple App Store or access Paste via your web browser at

Ideas for using Paper in learning and teaching

  • Create a screencast of a model equation or model answer for students to watch before class or to aid revision
  • Suggest as a tool to students and staff to allow them to take digital, handwritten notes
  • Annotate an image or passage of text during teaching

Ideas for using Paste in learning and teaching

  • Create lecture and seminar presentations and enable link sharing to allow students to follow along on their own devices
  • Suggest as a tool for students to use when creating collaborative or individual presentations for formative or summative assessments
  • Create an in-class or pre-class activity in which students each update one slide of a collaborative deck, for example summarising the reading they have chosen

What are the alternatives?

Alternatives to Paper:

Alternatives to Paste:

  • Google Slides (free on Android, iOS & web)
  • Sway (free on iOS, web & Windows)
  • Prezi (free on Android, iOS & web)
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Posted in App review, Mobile learning

Join us for @SussexTEL’s Spring Term Show & TEL

Show and TEL, Friday 27th April, 11:30-1pm on Fulton 113

Each term Technology Enhanced Learning hosts a Show & TEL event designed to showcase innovative and inspiring teaching practices at the University of Sussex. This term’s event will be held on Friday 27th April, 11:30-1pm in Fulton 113.
Book your place now!

Show & TEL is a collaborative forum for colleagues across the University of Sussex who have an interest in the use of technology to support teaching and enrich student learning. Facilitated by colleagues in Technology Enhanced Learning, Show & TEL is an opportunity to get involved in conversations around the use of learning technologies at Sussex.

The event provides an informal space to:

  • network with colleagues from across the institution with shared interests
  • share practice and hear about the use of technology in different schools
  • learn about new projects or developments from TEL colleagues
  • feed into future developments in the use of technology in teaching and learning at Sussex

This term we will be joined by Dr Liz McDonnell, Research Fellow (Sociology), and Dr Frances Miley, Senior Lecturer in Accounting.

Dr Liz McDonnell will be telling us all about her Digital Practice Award project, ‘Asexuality for students in health and education’. During this funded project, researchers from the School of Law, Politics and Sociology and colleagues from Technology Enhanced Learning collaborated to create multi-modal digital artefacts that were designed to share learning from research around asexuality. Aimed at medical students and teacher trainees, these artefacts were intended to provide individuals with new ways of thinking about asexuality in relation to identity and intimacy.

Dr Frances Miley will be sharing her experience of teaching on an undergraduate Economics degree within the School of Business, Management and Economics. Frances will introduce some of her innovative teaching practices. This will include work around changing staff and student cultures as well as induction initiatives, for which she recently won a Teaching Award at the University of Sussex for ‘Outstanding or Innovative Undergraduate Teaching’.

Frances and Liz’s presentations will then be followed by an update from Technology Enhanced Learning which will include information about Canvas, the University of Sussex’s new Virtual Learning Environment. Join us to talk teaching, learning and technology, meet colleagues from around the institution and connect with your TEL team. Tea, coffee and a light lunch will be available. Book your place now!

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Posted in Events

Canvas highlights 6: Conferences

Canvas Highlights 6. ConferencesCanvas provides staff and students with many collaboration opportunities and in this Canvas highlights post we will be taking a look at Conferences.

Canvas Conferences use a tool called BigBlueButton to enable staff to create online virtual spaces in order to interact with students on their courses. This tool allows you to broadcast video, audio, presentations or online applications in real-time. In addition to this, students can create their own conferences allowing them to facilitate study groups or prepare for group work at a distance. Conferences are very quick to set up and are easily customisable for different uses.

screenshot of Big Blue Button on Canvas

Notable features:

  • Enable recording to view Conferences at a later date
  • Upload documents to share with participants
  • Customise the layout (options include: chat box, webcam sharing, shared notes)
  • Share your screen to demonstrate a particular programme or procedure
  • Closed captioning – create captions that will also be available on the recording

screenshot of Conferences page in Canvas

Canvas Conferences could be used to aid student learning in a number of different ways. Firstly, Conferences would allow staff to create ‘virtual lectures’, to allow guest lecturers to contribute from a distance or to create virtual office hour spaces. In addition, the screen sharing and annotation features of Conferences could be used to demonstrate particular processes, technologies or applications, or to troubleshoot certain issues.

Arguably, the most powerful way in which this tool can be used is to encourage collaboration between students, for example when planning group projects and presentations and to facilitate reading groups.

Below are a few resources from the Canvas Community to help get you started when using the Conferences tool. Training for Sussex staff will start shortly, if you would like to find out more about Canvas please contact


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Posted in Canvas

Padlet – some changes to a popular tool

Many staff and students at the University of Sussex are using Padlet, which is a very versatile and flexible digital tool that we have been sharing with colleagues for a few years.

At the beginning of April 2018, Padlet changed its pricing model, so if you have been using the free version (now called Padlet Basic) there are some new limits on what you can do. Given the popularity of Padlet at Sussex, Technology Enhanced Learning will secure an institutional licence for the academic year 18/19 which will allow unlimited Padlets, remove advertising, increase upload limits and make adding students easier.

In the meantime, this post offers some tips for making the most of your Padlet Basic account. Read more ›

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Posted in Mobile learning

Canvas news: an update on progress

Canvas Update
Since our last Canvas update in early February, work has continued at full pace, with a focus on preparing training for all staff and establishing the mechanisms for creating module areas, accounts for staff and students and contributory assessment based on the University database records. Read on for more information about our progress. Read more ›

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Posted in Canvas

5 Myths and misconceptions in learning theory

There are a number of common myths surrounding learning theory that arise time and time again. In this post we’ll be separating some of the facts from the myths. Read more ›

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Posted in Learning theory

Canvas highlights 5: Collaborations

Canvas Highlights 5. Collaborations

In the second of these Canvas Highlights posts we looked at Groups and some of the ways that students can work together. This post will explore more of the collaboration tools available in our new Canvas VLE.

Course Pages

When a teacher creates a new page in a Canvas course they have the option of allowing all the students on the course to edit the page. The Rich Content Editor offers many options for creating pages with text, images, links, video etc.

If you have been using a class wiki this could be a good alternative, as the ‘view page history’ button allows you to see who has made changes when, and restore a previous version if necessary.

Revision History of a Page

A course page that students can edit could also be used for students to sign up to activities such as individual presentations (self sign-up groups would be better for group presentations).

Page for editing by students.

Page for editing by students.

Group Pages

In groups, students can create and edit their own pages for members of the group. These can also be viewed and edited by the tutor, so groups could get feedback on the pages they are creating. Here is an example of a page showing some of the content that students could collect, curate and create together.

Example collaborative page

Collaborations using Office 365 or Google Docs

In addition to collaborative pages, Canvas offers options to work together on documents using Office 365 to create Word, Excel or PowerPoint files. Alternatively, a Google Docs Collaboration will create a new doc (like a word doc). As both Office 365 and Google Drive allow you to share access to files with a link, you could also collaborate on OneNote notebooks, Google sheets, slides and forms by sharing links in a group.

These options would be great for:

  • Collaborating on slides for a group presentation.
  • Group editing of lecture or seminar notes.
  • Curating resources such as websites, videos, files, images, podcasts.

For more information see these Canvas FAQs:

We have a dedicated Canvas section on the TEL website ( and you can subscribe to this blog or follow us on Twitter (@SussexTEL) to receive all our Canvas news and information, including training for all Sussex staff.

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Digital Wellbeing – How to Focus and Unplug

Digital Wellbeing How to Focus and Unplug

You would be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed when it comes to tools for work, productivity, teaching, learning and entertainment. There is a lot of noise from a lot of places. Notifications popping up on our phones, tablets, laptops, watches and more. In this post we look at some strategies for focus. How do we manage the flow of information, keep ourselves on task and avoid the draw of multitasking? We also take a look techniques and tools for switching off. As important as that email may be, your health and work-life balance are more so. Read more ›

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Posted in digital skills, e-Safety

About our blog

We are the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team at the University of Sussex. We publish posts each week on using technology to support teaching and learning. Read more about us.

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