Sunday, March 30, 2014

Car Ride

After an almost five hour car ride, I am finally in my hotel room getting ready for a presentation I am giving at a conference tomorrow, which I am really psyched about doing. Don't get me wrong, it is great to unwind, unpack and get comfortable but the car ride was pretty awesome. You see, I was fortunate enough to have an amazing driver for this road trip through NJ, Pennsylvania and NY. You might know him - his name is Eric Sheninger (@NMHS_Principal) and he is one of the most passionate educators and nicest guys I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the last two years. 

So Eric is the reason I joined Twitter two years (I wrote about it here). After reading about Eric and his use of Twitter as it related to the world of education, I was hooked. Well, here we are nearly two years later and I don't know what I would do without Twitter, my PLN and the friendships I have developed on this socially connected network- they have changed my entire professional world! Today, and the five hour car ride with Eric, was exactly what Twitter is about for me - learning through the human connections I have established with other like-minded and passionate educators who are trying to do what is best for kids (I know this is not true of everyone but I see it in most of the people in my PLN). That is Eric in a nutshell - he is a dedicated and enthusiastic leader who is always looking for innovative and forward thinking ways to enhance the learning experiences of his kids and staff at New Milford.

That's not all though - Eric shared a lot more than his professional world. During this five hour car ride, I was able to pick Eric's brain on a bevy of topics from book writing to keynote speeches to creating MakerSpaces and his willingness to share, offer his perspectives and be an advisor/mentor blew me away - he shared so much to help me enhance my craft. I never would have imagined that a five hour car ride with one of my mentors who specializes in Digital Leadership (check out his book) would have been such a game changer but it came at the perfect time - thanks Eric. 

With that being said, the thing is, I could have been in the car with any number of people from my PLN (although Eric did introduce me to the best hot dogs on the planet) and the experience likely would have been similar. We talked, exchanged ideas, pushed our thinking and laughed - a LOT! In the end, that is what Twitter is all about for me... the amazing people who I have connected with (and even met in real life) who have willingly shared their expertise, passions, knowledge and experiences with no expectations. Thanks to Twitter, I have access to the best of the best who help me be a better educator and Lead Learner and these connections don't only benefit me, but they directly benefit our entire school community because I cannot wait to share what I have learned with those at Cantiague! Twitter is so much more than a digital platform... it is about connections... it is about social interactions... it is about relationships... it is about friendships... it is about the people behind the avatar... Twitter is a platform that allows for a free flow of ideas between people who make a choice to participate in this space; people who want to share; people who want to learn; people who are passionate about the world of education and want to do what is in the best interest of children.

So, the next time someone asks me about THE TWITTER and why I do it, I will tell them its about the car rides/conferences/text messages/voxes and everything else I share based on the human relationships I have established!      


  1. Enjoyed reading this and being part of your PLN...

  2. Tony,
    Being a part of your PLN has been such an honor. I have enjoyed reading and listening to the passion that you have for your students, staff, and school and aspire to have the same for my school.
    Thanks for sharing so much of what you do. It has helped me become a better educator.

  3. Thank you for sharing this! I totally agree!!

  4. Can you imagine if that epic car ride had been filmed? You and Eric are such inspiring leaders in education. Enjoy your conference!

  5. Tony, your enthusiasm and passion come through loud and clear-in all that you do. I feel blessed to have connected with you via The Twitter-having you as a mentor has been such a gift. Thank you! As for that road trip-I can only imagine the fun you two had!

  6. Tony: You and Eric are two learning professionals that have been a foundational block of my PLN since July 2011. I'm sure a car ride with either of you would provide me more learning than many of the conferences and workshops I go to. Sometimes we can find profound learning in the simplest of circumstances.

    You're doing great work that's influencing a generation. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Great story and connection. Tony I have also learned a great deal from my PLN and THE TWITTER connecting to so many awesome connected educators. I hope that someday I can make everything work and schedule a conference or two and meet some of my PLN in person.