From iOS to Alexa, classes aimed at mastering tech
by Jennifer Khedaroo
Nov 02, 2016 | 3184 views | 0 0 comments | 194 194 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Austin Space in Forest Hills is introducing technology and innovation to the area.

When The Austin Space officially opened on October 7, the main objective was to provide a modern co-working space, but founder Benny Tan also wanted to launch tech classes for the local community.

Now The Austin Space’s Technology Academy is offering a variety of courses, from mobile development to electronics.

The first program centered around iOS development for those interested in creating iPhone apps. Participants will be able to build an app by the end of the three-month program, as well as how to build Instagram and Snapchat clones.

With four years of mobile development experience, Tan, who is also founder of Squarevibe Apps, has created over 20 iPhone and iPad apps. Five of the apps have reached the top of the App Store charts.

One of Tan’s apps, Oasis Content Blocker, an ad blocker for Safari on iOS, was featured at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference earlier this year for its functionality and design.

Web design and development is an upcoming three-month program that will give students a look at the coding and design process of creating a website. The course will incorporate HTML and CSS to construct the website, and Javascript and jQuery to evolve interactions on the page.

“It’s perfect for anyone who wants to build their own website and to learn how certain animation is done,” Tan said.

The course will be taught by Donnie D’Amato, a former adjunct professor at the New York Institute of Technology who has 20 years of experience in content creation and interactivity on the web.

D’Amato currently works for a financial tech company in Chelsea, and is the co-organizer of the NYC Codepen Meetups.

A shorter, one-month course will spotlight working on a customized Amazon Alexa experience. Alexa is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice.

“This is a new form of interfacing because you’re using your own voice to send commands and make things happen,” Tan said.

The classes will teach students how to program the echo using Alexa for tasks like turning on lights and establishing an automated solution for your home.

Sometime in the future, the academy will also start an electronics course involving circuits. Working with Arduinos and Raspberry Pis, students can design circuits and produce projects such as voice controlled lights and robots.

The Youth Technology Initiative program, designed for kids 13 years and older, is designed for students who are interested in pursuing an academic focus or career in the tech industry.

Kids will brainstorm, design and produce their own projects using Scratch, a software that supports interactive stories, games, and animations.

“The feedback on the classes has been going great so far,” Tan said. “The students are really happy that we’re able to offer something like this in Queens.”

The Austin Space currently has ten members. There are three full-time members, two part-time “lite” members and five people who utilize the one-day basic membership. Members include game developers and designers.

People interested in membership can take of the The Austin Space's personalized tours.

“Instead of doing group tours, we’ve been doing more one-on-one tours to actually get to know a potential member and really try to understand what their needs are,” Tan said.
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