Transforming the human spirit through the power of music and film

Education: Disrupted

Enhancing Creativity and Learning Through Music, Media, and Technology

In an ongoing effort to explore new solutions for the development of creativity and improved learning experiences for young people, EarthTones Founder, Frank Fitzpatrick, alongside Director of Pepperdine’s Center for Media and Entertainment, Craig Detweiler, hosted Education: Disrupted at Pepperdine University.

  • WHAT (is it?)

    Education: Disrupted was a day-long international forum and cross-disciplinary think tank bringing together visionaries and thought leaders in education, media, interactive technology, and social entrepreneurship. We came together to present, share and explore best practices and innovative approaches to help save America’s failing education system. We were collectively looking for better solutions for Enhancing Creativity and Learning Through Music, Media and Technology.

  • WHO (does it serve?)

    We presented Education: Disrupted in conjunction with Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP). Through GSEP’s active alumni network of over 10,000 education professionals, most within the Los Angeles region, we saw the potential to impact millions of students. In addition, because the presenters and participants represent leaders and program directors from across the world, we have the ability to influence innovation on a global scale. The national and global impact and awareness efforts have been further supported by our participation in like-minded forums and think tanks during the year, including SXSWedu, Summit 2030: The Future of Education (Canada), InnovatED.LA, and the AHRC Network Forum (UK).

  • HOW (you can help?)

    • READ more on the Education: Disrupted experience in our blog.
    • WATCH and share the video excerpts from the program.
    • LEARN more about WHY Music – our campaign designed to inspire, inform and empower millions of teachers, parents and students about the power of music to improve levels of emotional engagement, personal wellbeing and academic performance.
    • INVEST in EarthTones and our critical work in the field by choosing a way to get involved.
    • SPREAD THE WORD: Talk to your friends, family members, and school boards about our timely and critical need as a society to support music as a tool for transforming humanity.
Education: Disrupted


  • Overview

    Each of the participants were chosen for two essential qualities: they are experts in their field with a high level of mastery and they share a higher intention and worldview, accompanied by a commitment to pursue that vision to make the world a better place.
  • Esteban Moctezuma Barragan

    Executive Chairman of Esperanza Azteca and President of Fundacion Azteca

    Presentation: Because We Didn’t Know it was Impossible…We Did it.

    As a leader in public policy is recognized as a driver of social transformation processes and support for research projects. In the field of public health has contributed crucially to vocational training, design and strengthen programs to improve the living conditions of the population. In recent statements, Barragán believes that there are three Mexicos: modern, traditional and marginalized. It is the modern Mexico which should help solve the problems of the other two and the latter teach the first building from the human side. As Exec Chair of Esperanza Azteca, has established 54 Youth Orchestras and is building model to expand/scale music education.

    2002 President of Fundacion Azteca
    2007 Vice President of Business for Basic Education
    2009 Executive Chairman of the 54 Youth Orchestras, Esperanza Azteca
    2011 Chairman of the Board of the National Institute of Health Public

  • Nolan Bushnell

    Founder and CEO of BrainRush

    Presentation: Game Technology Meets Brain Science for Enhanced Learning

    Nolan Bushnell is a technology pioneer, entrepreneur and engineer. Often cited as the father of the video game industry, he is best known as the founder of Atari Corporation and Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theater.

    Over the past four decades he has founded numerous companies, including Catalyst Technologies, the first technology incubator; Etak, the first digital navigation system; ByVideo, the first online ordering system; and uWink, the first touchscreen menu ordering and entertainment system, among others. Currently, with his new company, BrainRush, he is devoting his talents to enhancing and improving the educational process by integrating the latest in brain science. Additionally, he enjoys motivating and inspiring others in his speeches on entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation and education.

  • Nancy Cushing-Jones

    Chief Publishing and Transmedia Officer; Partner, BroadLit and BroadThink

    Nancy Cushing-Jones is an expert in translating story concepts from one medium to another and is a recognized expert in all forms of print and digital publishing across all genres and age groups both domestically and internationally. She is acknowledged as one of the earliest creators of the “tie-in” publishing business, transforming it from a marketing-only function to a financially significant business. Nancy was also in the forefront of creating a new business for the development and licensing of video game rights to filmed entertainment properties–now a multi-billion dollar industry.

    Nancy began her career in book publishing as the Managing Editor of two academic presses: The University of California at Berkeley Continuing Education of the Bar and Sage Publications. She transitioned to trade publishing and video game licensing, where she launched and ran for 23 years the worldwide book publishing division of Universal Studios and the Universal Videogames Licensing Division. As a result of establishing both of these divisions for Universal Studios, Nancy became the first female division president in the history of the Studio. She is responsible for creating and selling her first New York Times best-selling book in 1982 and has continued to earn this distinction for both fiction and nonfiction books for children and adults over the past 30 years for a wide spectrum of creative properties. Nancy was also the Executive Vice President of the Universal Studios Consumer Products Group, where she had a wide range of responsibilities including acting as the representative for this Group with all the key film and television producers, directors and performers on the various filmed entertainment projects produced and distributed by the Studio. In this capacity she often traveled with film production companies shooting on locations such as mainland China, Slovakia and Mexico. Previous start-up experience includes launching Broadthink and BroadLit.

  • Hall Davidson

    Senior Director of Global Learning Initiatives at Discovery Education

    Presentation: The Digital Transformation: Disrupting the Curve

    Hall Davidson has worked from think tanks in Turkey to classrooms in Tennessee. He has collaborated with thought leaders including teachers, superintendents, and legislators. For thirty years, he was an educational innovator in technology. He has keynoted national and regional conferences, including an ISTE keynote in 2002 and in more than two dozen regional or district conferences in calendar year 2013. Sessions blend big picture with nuts and bolts of integration. He has worked with transformational industry groups, education ministries, and impacted thousands of students through guidance of the nation’s oldest student media festival where many exemplary projects from K-12 practitioners first emerge. He currently serves as Senior Director of Global Learning Initiatives for Discovery Education, a part of Discovery Communications family that includes the Discovery Channel, Science Channel, and more than a dozen other networks.

  • Craig Detweiler

    Director of Pepperdine University’s Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture

    Presentation: Vision for Pepperdine’s School of Cinematic Arts and Media

    Filmmaker Craig Detweiler, Ph.D., is Professor of Communication and director of the Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture at Pepperdine University in Malibu. Booklist called his new book, iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives, “worthwhile reading for anyone concerned about the possibilities and perils of technology.” His additional books include Into the Dark, which explores the top-ranked films on the Internet Movie Database and Halos and Avatars: Playing Video Games with God. His documentary, [un]Common Sounds: Peace Through Music premiered on ABC’s “Vision and Values” series in November. Detweiler’s cultural commentary has been featured on ABC’s Nightline, CNN, Fox News, Al Jazeera, NPR, and in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

  • Frank Fitzpatrick

    Founder/Director of EarthTones

    Presentation: WHY Music: Creativity and the Technologies of Emotion

    A multi-platinum selling record producer, Grammy-nominated songwriter, social entrepreneur and award-winning filmmaker, Frank Fitzpatrick has proven himself to be a creative visionary and tireless force for transforming the human spirit through music and film. He has created the soundtracks for over two-dozen films, produced countless music events and sold over six million albums. As Founder and Director of the non-profit EarthTones, Fitzpatrick now focuses on creating programs that make a positive contribution to our world. His experience across the business, social and entertainment sectors allows him to provide organizations with creative solutions and integrated strategies for impacting large audiences. Frank is currently working on WHY Music – a multi-platform social venture designed to help people more effectively harness the power of music for the purpose of improving education, enhancing creativity and creating a more evolved society of intelligent and compassionate human beings.

  • Erik Gregory

    Chief Field Officer for the Pearson Foundation

    Presentation: Beyond Tests and Technology: Helping Students Flourish

    Erik Gregory came to Pearson in 1997. After 10 years working on children’s educational programme at 20th Century Fox, he decided it was time for a change. Working with the Pearson Foundation, he created Teacher Professional Development and Teacher Progression programmes for marginalized teachers across Africa. With South Africa as his base, he also designed student digital arts, well-being, and curriculum programmes for students in over 20 countries. Focusing on cognitive behavioral theory, he designed student led initiatives that focused on core curriculum, but slipped in character building around grit, determination, emotional intelligence, and a wide variety of 21st century non-cognitive attributes. Both the student and teacher programmes relied heavily on the use of technology, partnering, for instance, with Nokia to deliver literacy, numeracy, and early childhood development pro-dev modules to poor communities via mobile devices.

    Erik spent a year on secondment to Sir Michael Barber helping to devise the strategy for the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund. He traveled the world for one year using the Affordable Learning Fund Knowledge Capture Framework to evaluate the state of low-cost education across the globe. During the course of these visits he uncovered amazing best-practice in the field of student well-being. Teachers, parents, and community members in these extremely disadvantaged communities were forced to be frugal and yet still design curriculum-based programmes and learner well-being initiatives that proved positive outcomes.

    Erik spent the last year helping deliver the Common Core System of Courses. The immersive lessons on this touch-pad application are all focused on the core concepts of global awareness, civic literacy, health literacy, environmental literacy, and financial, economic, business, and entrepreneurial literacy. Focusing on the 4 Cs, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity, teachers can deliver against the entire Common Core State Standards.

  • Jennifer Groff

    Vice-President of Learning and Program Development for Learning Games Network

    CEO, Sterling Education Design
    Consultant, Innovative Learning Environments

    Presentation: Deeper Learning and Creating: With and Without Technology

    Jennifer is an educational engineer and researcher whose work focuses on redesigning learning environments and experiences through educational innovations and technologies. Currently, she is a graduate researcher at the MIT Media Lab and the VP of Learning for the Learning Games Network – a non-profit spin-off from the MIT Education Arcade – which focuses on the leading edge of educational game design. She is also the co-founder of the Center for Curriculum Redesign—an international NGO dedicated to redesigning the general curricula for the 21st century.

    In 2009, Jen was a US-UK Fulbright Scholar at Futurelab Education in Bristol, United Kingdom, where she continued her work on system innovation and researched the use of console-games in Scotland’s schools. Jennifer is the author of numerous frameworks on unblocking innovation in education systems, transformation and design over educational reform, and the ‘whole-mindedness’ pedagogical approach, and is one of the authors in the new book 20Under40: Reinventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century—which selected submissions from 20 emerging arts education leaders under the age of 40. A former educator, Jen was a Microsoft Innovative Teacher Leader in 2005 as well as a Google Certified Teacher.

  • Eric Hamilton

    Professor of Education for Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology

    Presentation: The Revolution of Imagination, Design, Media and Agency in Future Learning Environments

    Eric Hamilton is Professor of Education at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles. Dr. Hamilton also holds a joint appointment in mathematics. He carries out research activities under support from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the US Department of Education’s research arm, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), studying means to nurture the imagination, creativity and media fluencies of science and mathematics teachers; intergenerational communication in science and mathematics media co-authoring between teachers and students; and the use of artificial agents and language parsers in collaborative educational workspaces.

    Hamilton works extensively with educational and research partners overseas, particularly in east Africa and Finland. He has also led the NSF-funded Distributed Learning and Collaboration (DLAC) symposium series in Shanghai, Singapore, Uganda and Germany.

    Dr. Hamilton came to Pepperdine from the US Air Force Academy, where he was a research professor and director of the Center for Research on Teaching and Learning. Dr. Hamilton has given numerous invited and keynote addresses in the areas of learning technologies and future learning environments at conferences in the US and overseas. Prior to his assignment at the Air Force Academy, he was a member of the US government’s senior executive service corps as the director for the education and learning technology research division at NSF. Originally tenured in computer science, he came to NSF from Loyola University Chicago, where he organized and led a large consortium on STEM learning, invented and secured patents on pen-based computing collaboration, and directed the Chicago Systemic Initiative in mathematics and science education.

  • Martine Jago

    Associate Dean, Graduate School of Education, Pepperdine University

    An expert in multilingual education, Dr. Martine Jago, associate professor of education, brings 15 years of experience to the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP). Jago is fluent in English, French, and German; proficient in Spanish, Italian, and Dutch; and currently learning Korean. “My long-term goal is to promote intercultural understanding and communication in the field of education,” Jago said of her interest in teaching. Jago believes foreign language is an important skill to impart on children from an early age. Her dissertation, “Foreign Languages in Early Schooling: Policy, Pupils, and Processes,” explored the impact of policy on practice throughout the school setting, and how policy can improve the curriculum to help children learn foreign languages. Jago teaches “Introduction to Research and Assessment,” “Psychological Foundations of Education,” and “Teacher Education Institute,” among other classes.

  • Anthony Eamonn Kelly, Ph.D.

    Professor, Educational Psychology, Stanford University

    Anthony (Eamonn) Kelly was born in Galway City, Ireland. He earned a bachelor’s degree at St. Patrick’s College, Dublin, and earned three Master’s degrees at California State University at Chico. He earned a Ph.D. at Stanford University in psychological studies in education and took a position at Rutgers University in New Jersey. After promotion to associate professor at Rutgers, he was a visiting scholar at UC Davis, and served at the National Science Foundation (1997-2000; 2006-2007). He is professor of educational psychology at George Mason University. Dr. Kelly is interested in the intersection of the creative space of innovative practices and where it meets the pruning function of research methods (i.e., design-based research). He is an active funded researcher, and was a Fulbright New Century Scholar (2009-2010) under the theme: “The university as an innovation driver and knowledge center for society.” He also works to promote research intersecting mathematics cognition and cognitive neuroscience. His NSF SciSIP award (2009) explores the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) spending in education [Race to the Top]. His other NSF awards are on the learning needs of megacities and learning and assessment in cyberinfrastructure. He received an NSF award in 2010 to study the implementation of the US Department of Education High School Longitudinal Study.

  • Kathryn Linehan

    Manager of the Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture at Pepperdine University

    Kathryn Linehan brings over 20 years of experience in the fields of film, finance, fitness and health. As a catalyst for creativity and social entrepreneurship, she oversees strategic relations and helps build awareness of projects and initiatives within the entertainment community. At Pepperdine University, she is Manager of Pepperdine’s Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture as well as faculty in the Natural Science division. As a filmmaker, Kathryn produced documentaries that were broadcast on PBS, shown in theatres, and used to promote causes for nonprofit organizations. Kathryn’s business training was with Mellon Bank in Wealth Management, Wells Fargo’s Commercial Bank, and in sales management with Xerox.

    She is currently producing “FORM Community”, a synthesis of physical well-being and meditative thought for use by universities. FORM is a catalyst for transformational change providing a series of video media that depict inspiring stories of personal journeys, detailed instructions on a wide range of movement and breathing practices, and ways to explore individualized creative flow. The series is being produced with the Fetzer Institute.

  • Christopher Nicholls

    Executive Producer of Disney Interactive’s Fantasia: Music Evolved

    Presentation: Introducing Fantasia: Music Evolved

    Christopher Nicholls is a 20 year veteran of game development with a varied career as an Audio Director, Animation Director, Director of Production and Executive Producer. With stints at Psygnosis, Electronic Arts, LEGO, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Insomniac and Disney his work has been often focused on the development and integration of new technology and techniques to create more immersive and interesting play systems.

    A graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University, majoring in Critical Theory, Digital Video and Electronic Music, he combined studies with a variety of youthful misadventures that immersed him in the burgeoning Manchester music scene of the early 90’s as a video producer and electronic musician. Attempting to further balance his curiosity he undertook a Masters degree in Artificial Intelligence at Birmingham University, but fell into the trap of producing some of the very first, full digital soundtracks for games at Psygnosis, just prior to the launch of the original Playstation. He has not looked back.

    For the last four years he has been the Executive Producer and originator of a new Fantasia project at Disney. In partnership with the renowned, music-game developer, Harmonix, the game won ‘Best Casual/Family Game’ at last years E3 Critic’s Awards. Slated for release later this year, the project attempts to harness the expanding intersections of music and new technologies to make the world a more playful place.

  • William Nix

    Chairman of the Creative Projects Group

    Will is an executive, attorney and producer with extensive experience in corporate formation, operations and business affairs, as well as being an experienced negotiator, litigator and dispute resolution practitioner with expertise in the entertainment, media, sports, intellectual property and creativity fields. Will served as Co-Chair of Baker Botts LLP’s Entertainment, Media and Sports Practice Group, as VP of Legal and Business Affairs for NBA Properties and as COO of the network of nearly 2,000 employees and representatives of the Motion Picture Association of America’s global Content Protection Group. He has worked closely with Internet/Software businesses as a strategist and operational advisor for many years. He is Executive Producer of the animated feature film currently being produced by Salma Hayek based on Kahlil Gibran’s iconic work The Prophet and the Producer of several other film and television productions. His work involves both traditional media and multiple content delivery platforms and technologies. Having worked with both major studios and independents for several decades, including most recently Participant Media, he and his colleagues develop and produce innovative new content for global audiences to experience.

  • Jon Phillips

    Managing Director – Strategy, Worldwide Education for Dell Inc.

    Presentation: Personalized Learning: Essential Tenets for Success

    With 20 years combined experience in providing leadership, strategic direction and hands-on management in the areas of: (1) operations management, (2) product development, (3) brand/marketing and (4) business development with several large, medium size and start-up enterprises, Mr. Phillips is highly experienced in leading teams providing large-scale operational and systems integration services to the Education (Hied & K-12) Marketplace. He has directed teams in the execution of large business improvement projects, long-range technology plans, packaged technology selections and implementations. Mr. Phillips is also experienced in building consulting services businesses, turnaround management, merger and acquisition preparation consulting, with a successful track record of assisting organizations with the alignment of business strategy and operational execution.

    Mr. Phillips, previous work included, Executive Editor/Brand Manager, with MacMillan Publishing USA – part of Pearson Education. Additionally, during his career in the Technology, Media and Publishing sectors, Jon has served in various brand management, corporate marketing and operations management roles. Mr. Phillips received a Bachelor of Science – Communications and Marketing from Ball State University.

  • Linda Polin

    Director of the Ed.D. in Educational Technology for Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology

    Presentation: Unbundling Education

    Linda G. Polin received her Ph.D. in educational psychology, specializing in learning and instruction, from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the program director of the Ed.D. in Educational Technology program and teaches doctoral courses in learning, technology, and design. Dr. Polin consults with school districts and software developers, and has developed school software packages. Her current interest focuses on knowledge creation and knowledge sharing in online communities, including Massively Multiplayer Online games and other large informal learning communities supporting peer-to-peer interaction. She has served in an advisory or consulting capacity for SRI, the Lawrence Hall of Science, TERC, and CPSquare. Dr. Polin’s most recent publications include Online Learning Communities: Common Ground and Critical Differences in Designing Technical Support. In Barab, S. A., Kling, R., & Gray, J. (Eds.), 2004; Designing for Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 2004; and Learning in Dialogue with a Practicing Community. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 2004. Dr. Polin is a member of the American Educational Research Association and the director of the Center for Learning in Community, at Pepperdine University, a professional development organization for Ed.D in Educational Technology alumni. Dr. Polin also serves as faculty advisor for the Pepperdine GSEP student chapter of the ACM.

  • Jonathan See

    CIO, Pepperdine University

    Presentation: Creativity and Learning Through Media and Technology

    Jonathan has worked in higher education for 24 years. Prior to his CIO appointment, Jonathan served in other capacities since joining Pepperdine in July 2005, including senior director for IT Administration and Client Services, and deputy CIO. In addition, Jonathan worked at the Getty Research Institute for three and a half years as the head of administration and at the California State University (CSU), Los Angeles campus for 14 years where the last position he held was deputy executive director for commercial operations.

    Born in the Philippines and raised in Hong Kong, Jonathan immigrated to the U.S. in 1985, went to college and earned a bachelor’s degree in radio and television broadcasting from California State University, Los Angeles and a master’s degree in public administration from CSU, Northridge.

  • Jennifer Snow

    Educational Consultant, Musician, Educator

  • Debbie Wideroe

    President, Widerøe Group; Visiting Professor & Director, Internship Program – Communication Division, Pepperdine University

    Debbie Wideroe is a business development and entertainment marketing executive, specialized in the creation and execution of marketing solutions for both entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies. She is a Visiting Professor at Pepperdine University where she also directs the Communication Division Internship program. Debbie continues to consult through The Wideroe Group; is the Founder of, a private mentoring association; has written two books and is the recipient of numerous industry, academic and service awards, including the most recent global advertising educator award – Charles H. Sandage Excellence in Teaching Award.   In her tenure, Debbie was a marketing executive at Warner Bros. directing the global marketing efforts for the Looney Tunes,  Baby Looney Tunes, Pinky & the Brain and Tiny Toon Adventures.  She was also Founder and CEO of Multi-Media Promotions, Inc. and led the successful For Kids’ Sake TV campaign- writing and producing pro-social TV specials, PSA’s, interstitials and commercials.   Debbie received her Master’s Degree from Harvard University.

  • Robert Williams

    Associate Professor of Political Science at Pepperdine University

  • Cynthia Young

    Curator/Connector at Journeys in Film

    Presentation: Connecting and Collaborating for Scalability and Sustainability

    Cynthia designed one of the first interactive videodisks for the Dept of Education in 1986, was part of Ford Motor Company’s initial Web Strategy team in 1992 and piloted Ford’s first online newsletter and then collaborative intranet meetings for global strategy in 1996.

    Current projects include: Journeys In Film – a project of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center committed to seeking new alliances and fostering partnerships that address further advancement of global education programs, as well as those promoting the power of film as a tool for teaching. Pathways and journeys – an online network of exemplars, students, collaborators and life long learners who continue to explore the intersections of creativity / compassion / consciousness living.

Illustrations By:

  • Patti Dobrowolski

    Up Your Creative Genius

    Patti Dobrowolski, author of DRAWING SOLUTIONS: How Visual Goal Setting Will Change Your Life is the founder of Up Your Creative Genius, a consulting firm that uses visuals and creative processes to help companies and individuals accelerate growth and change. A critically acclaimed comic performer, internationally recognized keynote speaker, writer and business consultant, she has brought her innovative visual practices to NGOs, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and individuals around the world.

Special Thanks:

  • Lance Coert, Pepperdine University’s IT and AV Support
  • Claudette LaCour, Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education
  • Kathryn Linehan, Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture
  • Jennifer Loria, EarthTones and WHY Music
  • Russell Nickerson, Reel Memories Video
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