Hong Kong classrooms are upping the ante on web-based education – by teaching via YouTube. The video-sharing giant launched the Hong Kong Digital Academy on Tuesday, a programme that enables schools to upload and share original educational videos they produce for students and the public on a dedicated channel. “[The academy] allows students to learn easily from home, empowering them to enjoy a more independent, liberal and interesting learning process,” said Erwin Huang, head of non-profit organisation WebOrganic . The academy was launched in partnership with the organisation, which is under the Hong Kong Council of Social Service’s Internet Learning Resource Centre. “Students ... can see how a certain topic is taught differently at other schools, and people from the public can also watch and learn from them too,” Huang added. The programme aims to promote the effectiveness and flexibility of internet teaching at virtually no cost. Viewers will also be given the choice to turn off ads. Secretary of Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim said he supported the programme and encouraged more collaboration amongst different sectors of the community to make good use of internet-based learning. “Education is of great importance to social advancement, and we have to move with the times,” said Ng. A pilot programme was launched at a number of schools including Salesian School, S.K.H. Kei Oi Primary School and the True Light Middle School. It is expected to be one of the region’s largest data-base of educational multimedia resources. The academy is open to all schools but will target local primary and secondary school students and feature videos on major subjects including Chinese, English, Mathematics and Liberal Studies. “Letting students watch educational videos at home frees up space for teachers during the day and allows them to give more individual time with students in need,” said Ha Chi-hung, IT panel head at the True Light Middle School of Hong Kong. YouTube education has become an increasingly popular method of teaching in recent years. YouTube EDU now features more than 1,000 different channels and hosts over 700,000 videos. More than 80 per cent of YouTube EDU views come from outside the US, with Sesame Street , Khan Academy and TEDtalks amongst the most popular of channels. "By launching a specific YouTube channel for the education sector, we hope to create one single platform that compiles the efforts of local educators, advances the trend of online learning and puts it into action," said Stella Cheung, sales director in Hong Kong for Google, which owns YouTube.