- The “Free Classroom Online 100+ Early Summer 2022” programme will stream lessons on YouTube and Facebook until April 14
- More than 3,000 users logged on to the group’s website on the first day, says one of the project founders
As schools shut their gates for the early summer holiday, a recently launched online platform offering more than 100 classes for free has received an overwhelming response from both students and parents.
Last month, Hong Kong authorities brought forward the summer holidays by some four months to early March, a move that sparked concern among students, parents and teachers over disruptions to learning.
Seeing the need to fill the gap and provide learning resources, a group of educators set up the “Free Classroom Online 100+ Early Summer 2022” project.
“We thought if students have the need and teachers at school may have difficulty designing diversified educational resources, given the holiday was announced at such short notice, we can do something for them,” said Li Kin-man, one of its founders.
Li and the other backers finalised the project in 10 days. The classes will run until April 14.
Li did not expect the programme to receive such a great response.
“It is way out of our expectations ... more than 3,000 students, parents or teachers logged on to our website on the first day,” said the secondary school principal.
As of Friday – just five days into its launch – more than 5,000 people had subscribed to its YouTube channel.
The platform’s name in Cantonese translates into “100 classes in March” (三月百課). “100 classes” in Cantonese is a homonym which can mean a department store, and that is what Li and the founders want the students to feel when they join the project.
“When you come to our website, there is an array of diversified choices. There must be something that matches your interest. We believe in giving a choice in learning,” Li said.
Apart from normal lessons such as Chinese and English, they also have fun classes such as yoga, cooking and story time. They teach topics that cannot typically be found in a school curriculum.
For example, they invited Wilson Cheung, the world’s first Chinese polar expedition leader, to talk about exploring Antarctica. They also have classes explaining blockchain technology, NFTs (non-fungible tokens), cryptocurrency, and even Japanese manga culture.
“These examples show how diversified we are and how forward-thinking our classes are,” Li said.
Apart from teachers from local and international schools, there are many guest speakers, including university professors and well-known people from all walks of life.
“We had no difficulty inviting teachers to our project. Everyone is willing to teach a class for free and make an effort to help children, especially grass roots students,” said Li.