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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

Steph Jump

SPATIAL: driving gender equity in STEM education through visuospatial gameplay.

The UK has a severe STEM skills shortage costing the economy £1.5bn annually, which is exacerbated by women comprising only one-quarter of UK STEM workers. An overlooked driver of this discrepancy lies with visuospatial skills--the ability to imagine and manipulate objects in the mind’s eye.

Schools virtually don’t teach them, and girls engage less than boys in the hobbies that train them, but these skills are foundational to success in STEM. Training students can even out girls’ scores with boys’, increase their interest in STEM, and improve all students' grades.

SPATIAL is an escape room-style, visuospatial training game for children up to age 13. Students solve a series of spatial puzzles to unlock keys and relics to progress through historical-themed missions.

Research has shown that hands-on learning is particularly effective at training visuospatial reasoning. However, digital platforms are needed to streamline progressive learning, automate assessment and tracking, and prove the training impact. This project has been an exploration of using technology to blend the physical and digital worlds for an optimised learning experience.

SPATIAL uses the camera on students’ laptops to track physical objects, which serve as the game controllers and correspond to objects on the screen. Students solve puzzles by rotating or moving these real-world objects. This enables students to hold hundreds of activities in just one hand and learn through tangible play.

A picture of a woman from the waist up standing in a park, with long brown hair and a blue top looking at the camera.

Steph is a transdisciplinary designer who thrives at the intersection of the creative and technical. Originally from a physics and bioengineering background, Steph’s career has ranged from designing medicine-producing microbes for rare genetic diseases to advising corporations as a management consultant.

Her work at the RCA centred around innovations for improving human health, as well as gender representation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). After learning that training women in mental rotation skills can increase female engineering retention by up to 30%, she turned her focus to building interventions that prepare girls to fully partake in an increasingly technological world.


MA/MSc Global Innovation Design - Royal College of Art and Imperial College London (2021-2023)

B.E. Biological Engineering - Dartmouth College (2015-2018)

B.A. Physics - Vassar College (2013-2017)


Technology Award Finalist, Mayor's Entrepreneur Competition (2023)

WE Innovate competitor, Imperial Enterprise Lab (2023)

Pokémon Scholar, The Pokémon Company (2022)

Industrial Design Studentship, The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 (2022)

Finalist, Terra Carta Design Lab (2022)

Environment Award Finalist, Mayor's Entrepreneur Competition (2022)

description of spatial skills and their impact
statistics on impact of spatial training
A person's hands holding a white wheel with a colourful image at the centre that says "Spatial EduTech" in front of a computer m
Learning through play
A person holding a box with physical objects in it
Physical manipulatives which serve as game controllers
A tiling puzzle on a laptop with physical game pieces in front, with a hand positioning a piece to solve the digital puzzle.
Physical:digital interactions to drive engaging gameplay
6 laptop screens showing UI/UX of the SPATIAL educator's digital platform
SPATIAL's back-end data analytics platform streamlines learning while supporting educators and parents
images of prototypes
images of physical objects and AR prototypes