This introduction paper provides the context for the Symposium. It begins with a brief account of the ways in which the Internet is being held responsible for poisoning democracy, then unpacks the nexus of the three main terms of the title of this Symposium: democracy, education and technology. The conceptual aspects of this nexus are inextricable from the technical aspects. That is why it is appropriate that this Symposium integrates together papers that might seem primarily conceptual and papers that are more focused on technical issues of how to design to support deeper refl ection and collective intelligence. This paper ends with a justifi cation of the need to take an expanded ‘design based research’ approach to the issue of how education and technology relate to democracy. What we need now is not so much contemplative knowledge of relationships between abstract concepts but engaged knowledge that supports collective technology design, where we, ourselves, or the nature of human subjectivity and human subjectivities, are understood to be part of that technological design based research project. Keywords: theory of technology; collective cognition; CSCL; dialogic; design-based research.