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Passing the Google Other Tools Exam

Google has introduced Google Apps for Schools and created a certification of sorts for this suite of application. This series of certification exams can show your ability to teach, configure, and support Google Apps for Schools. In this article, Joe Phillips discusses the Google Other Tools exam and tells you what you'll need to know to pass.
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Do you have a Leatherman tool? It's my favorite multi-tool; mine has a couple of knifes, a screwdriver, a Phillips screwdriver, a bottle opener, a tweezers, pliers, and a tiny saw in case I'm lost in the woods with Survivorman.

With this tool we could build a shelter, prep dinner, and pop open some ice cold brews, no doubt. Do I really need all these tools in one gadget? Nope, but it's nice to know they're there.

The Google Other Tools exam is kind of like the Leatherman tool—lots of different stuff packed together. You probably won't need all these different tools, but it's nice to know they're available should you need 'em.

If you're on your way to pass the Google qualifications exam, this is one test you'll want to spend some additional time studying for as the objectives go in different directions.

The tools in this exam use the Labs setting, which you can enable through your Google domain control account. These tools are really widgets, gadgets, and software that you'll use to customize your Google Apps Suite for teachers, students, and school staff.

You can review the Google training for the Other Tools exam here: http://edutraining.googleapps.com/Training-Home/module-6-other-tools.

Let's have a look at the exam objectives.

Using the Apps Mail Lab

You can add some gadgets to your Apps Mail to quickly access your calendar, Google Docs, Twitter gadgets, and all sorts of other bells and whistles to your Apps Mail interface. You'll access many of the gadgets by supplying the URL of where the gadget's XML file is located. Through your Apps Mail's settings you can enable the remote gadgets—or turn off the feature if you don't want to mess with the remote gadgets as some can slow down the page load and act quirky.

Teachers may want their Google Apps Administrator to allow them to preview media right in the email messages, such as YouTube or Flickr photos. By default you won't see these extras right in the email message, but you can enable this feature through Apps Mail, Settings, and Labs, and then enable the service that you want to preview. Fancy.

A related feature that you might want to enable is the QuickLinks capability. It's also in Settings, Labs, and it allows you to set a QuickLink to favorite email messages or conversations.

This exam will also test your understanding of the "Send and archive" button. It's just a way of replying to a message and then moving the mail to the archived messages. It's a nice (and obsessive) way of keeping your inbox nice and tidy. The message is still available in the conversation, All Mail, and through search, but it's out of sight in the inbox container.

The final two features you'll need to be familiar with in Apps Mail are "Suggest More Recipients" and "Insert Images into Email" settings. Care to guess what these two things do?

The "Suggest More Recipients" feature looks at who you're sending messages to and, based on past groupings of email messages, it'll suggest people that you might have forgotten to include in the current message. This sounds like a good idea, but what if you're sending a gossipy email about the person Apps Mail is suggesting for you? Oops!

The "Insert Images into Email" messages feature allows you put images right into the email message rather than as an attachment. Attachments are the default method for sending images to others, but this setting allows folks to drop in their favorite "icanhazcheezburger" photo right in the email message. This is probably easier for people like my brother who still doesn't understand that a paper clip means something is attached to the email, not that they need to clean their ears.

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